Bishop Mario Alberto Molina Palma (CN)



Born 13-10-1948 in Panama, Panama. Archbishop of Los Altos, Quetzaltenando-Totonicapán, in Guatemala. Appointed 2011-7-14. 4a Calle 3-12, Zona 5, Apartado 31
Santa Cruz del Quiché, Guatemala

Email: [email protected]


Our Lady of Consolation

Year of episcopal ordination

Ut Ecclesia aedificationem accipiat


Mario Alberto Palma was born in Panama on the 13th of October, 1948. He completed his primary and secondary studies in the Colegio San Agustín of Panama City.

When he finished his bachelor studies, he requested entry into the Order of Augustinian Recollects in the Province of Our Lady of Consolation. He made his novitiate, however, in the house of formation of the Province of St. Augustine in Kansas City, Kansas. He took his first vows on the 27th of August, 1968. He continued his formation in this monastery until his profession of solemn vows in 1971. In 1972, he began his theological studies in the Seminary of St. Thomas of Villanova, Torrente, Valencia, Spain. He received the diaconate in Pamplona and ordination to the priesthood in Panama on the 29th of June, 1975.

He had completed his philosophy requirements in Rockurst College, Kansas City, Missouri, from which institution he received a bachelor of arts degree. In the Faculty St. Vincent Ferrer, Valencia, he obtained the bachelor degree in theology in 1975. This same year, after his ordination to the priesthood, he continued his studies of Sacred Scripture in the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome achieving a licentiate degree in Sacred Scripture in 1978. After a few years as member of the formation team in Torrente, he returned to Rome in order to work for his doctorate at the same Pontifical Biblical Institute where he obtained the title of Doctor of Sacred Scripture in 1985.


Upon completion of his studies, he was transferred by his superiors to Guatemala where he began to work principally in as a teacher of Theology and Sacred Scripture at the National Major Seminary of the Assumption, and as a member of the faculty of the University Rafael Landivar and the Salesian Institute of Theology. He held these ministries between 1986 and 1991. In 1991, he became prior of the Seminary of St. Augustine of Guatemala and provincial delegate for Guatemala.

In 1994, he received permission from his superiors to assume the position of dean of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Rafael Landivar for six years, that is, until the year 2000. In 1998, he also began his service as Adjunct Secretary to the Episcopal Conference of Guatemala. He performed this service until 2002. At this time, he was named pastor of the parish of St. Maria Goretti in Guatemala City. On the 29th of October of 2004, while attending the General Chapter of the Order as a delegate, he was informed of his appointment as Bishop of Quiché, Guatemala, by His Holiness Pope John Paul II. He was ordained bishop in Santa Cruz de Quiché on the 22 of January of 2005.

Pope Benedict XVI announced last 2011 July 14 the appointment of the Augustinian Recollect, Mario Alberto Molina Palma, as the new archbishop of Los Altos, Quetzaltenando-Totonicapán, in Guatemala. The religious was, prior to the announcement, the bishop of Quiché, which is part of the archdiocese he now occupies.


Beginning the year 1996 the archdiocese of Los Altos, as an ecclesiastical circumscription, included the civil departments of Quetzaltenango and Totonicapán. It has an extension of 4,890 sq. km. and a population of 1,300,000 inhabitants. Presently the archdiocese comprises of 32 parishes, 28 diocesan priests and 30 religious clergy. There are in the area 40 religious women, 8 religious men and 10 members of the secular institute. The diocese has 17 candidates to the priesthood in the major seminary.

The presence of the Augustinian Recollects in this territory dates back to 1958, the time they took charge of the administration of the parishes of San Miguel Arcángel (Totonicapán) and Nuestra Señora de la Soledad del Calvario (Quetzaltenango). The latter was returned to the diocese in 1970.

The parish of Totonicapán has 100,000 inhabitants. It comprises the entire municipal territory of the city. The majority of the population is indigenous and the administration of the territory is divided into the capital (with 12,000 inhabitants) and 52 regions or settlements. It was in 1998 when the parish church, which was established in 1545, was declared co-cathedral of the archdiocese.

In the same year, 1998, the Recollects took charge of the parish of the Sagrada Familia in Quetzalatenango. This parish was established in 1976 and has a 30,000–population that is distributed into one capital and five barrios.