Bishop Leo Frade; Evangelist & Convicted Felon?

          Although they may be separate, there have been occasions in the history of the United States when church and state found one another at odds. This article profiles Leo Frade, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Southeast Florida, who has spent his life promoting humanitarian goals. Governments in two countries have opposed his efforts, but so far, he has prevailed with the help of the legal system.         

         Bishop-Leo-FradeBorn in Havana, Cuba on October 10, 1943, Bishop Leo Frade grew up in a staunchly Methodist home. As a teenager at a youth conference he felt a strong call to serve God. After that event, he left for the Sierra Maestra Mountains. At the time, Fidel Castro had returned from exile in Mexico, and was hidden in the rugged Sierra Maestra where he sought to recruit guerillas to join his cause by broadcasting on the radio. Frade and his fellow missionaries must have lived in the same type of rustic conditions as the guerillas did then, but with different goals: one to bring peace and the message of God’s love to the poor, and the other to bring war and the message of the revolution. “The guerillas paraded down the middle of the road carrying coffins on their shoulders,” recounted Frade. “The first coffins were painted with the word, ‘Missionaries’ and the second coffins said, ‘Friends of Missionaries’ so we had to get out of there.”

The profile explains the Bishop Leo Frade’s journey, from Methodist Missionary, to seminarian and civil rights activist, and how he eventually became a priest in the Episcopal church, serving in Louisiana in 1980, when the Mariel Boatlift occurred. He helped arrange a rescue mission to Cuba, after which he was convicted on trading with the enemy. The conviction was later overturned on appeal, for which Bishop Leo Frade thanks attorneys for their long hours, hard work, keen insight, and enduring commitment, and expressed his desire that they be endowed with the spirit of wisdom and understanding

Jane Muir’s Caba Article – page 33


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