Inaugural Pastor Arrived In Miami From Cuba During “Pedro Pan”

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – An Episcopalian pastor who came to Miami as a young boy from Cuba delivered the benediction Monday at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration.

Luis Leon, who was born in Guantanamo, was only 11-years old when he fled his island homeland during the famed Operation Pedro Pan in 1961, according to CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald.

Leon heads the historic church near the White House known as “Church of the Presidents” — John’s Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. Many say the Episcopalian pastor embodies the spirit of the country’s diversity.

Leon replaced Atlanta pastor Rev. Louis Giglio who opted out after it was revealed that he gave an anti-gay sermon in the mid-1990s.

As minister of St. John’s since 1995, Leon has counseled from the pulpit three presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama.  In 2005, he became the first Hispanic to deliver the inaugural benediction to President Bush.

CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed to this report.


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