Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez, Archbishop emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico, was born August 4, 1922 in Lajas, in the diocese of Ponce (now the diocese of Mayagüez) and he completed his studies at the major seminary of the archdiocese of Boston. In Boston, he was ordained to the priesthood on April 10, 1950. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from the United States. He spent the first three years of his priesthood in the curia of Ponce as secretary of same, and for many years as a parish priest in the same diocese where he was very much appreciated and beloved by the Bishop and faithful.
Cardinal Luis Aponte Martínez is the first Cardinal native of Puerto Rico, as well as the first Bishop native of the island. He was named titular Bishop of Lares on July 23, 1960 and appointed Coadjutor possessing the right of succession to the residential See of Ponce. He received episcopal ordination on October 12, 1960 and on November 18, 1963 he became Bishop of Ponce.
On November 4, 1964, he was promoted to Archbishop of San Juan, succeeding Archbishop James P. Davis, who was transferred to Santa Fe. Cardinal Aponte Martínez is the 57th pastor of the 450 year old archdiocese with over a million Catholics.
He was also President of the Puerto Rican Episcopal Conference. As Bishop he carried out on an intensive pastoral activity in all areas of the archdiocese and the island, and has often spoken out strongly on all the most urgent social problems, giving their varied religious and moral ramifications. In particular, he spoke out against government programs for birth control and sterilization on the island.
Archbishop emeritus of San Juan de Puerto Rico, March 26, 1999.
Created and proclaimed Cardinal by Paul VI in the consistory of March 5, 1973, of the Title of Santa Maria della Provvidenza a Monte Verde (St. Mary of Providence in Monte Verde).