Father Gerard Creedon took a leap of faith in the summer of 1991
when he left the comfort of the Arlington Diocese to become the first pastor of
the newly established diocesan mission in the Dominican Republic.
Twenty-five years later, Father Creedon, now pastor of Holy
Family Church in Dale City, joined Bishop Paul S. Loverde at the Cathedral of
St. Thomas More in Arlington Nov. 12 to celebrate the silver anniversary of the
Bánica Mission. They were joined by: Fathers Patrick L. Posey, director of the
Diocesan Mission Office; Father Jason Weber, pastor of San Francisco de Asis
Church in Bánica; Father Robert J. Rippy, cathedral rector; and Father Pedro
Mateo, a native of the mission who is now pastor of a parish in the Dominican
Today, the Bánica Mission tends to the spiritual needs of 13,000 people at two parishes along the Haitian border. In addition to providing the sacraments, the mission operates a school for 250 students and assists impoverished families in meeting basic necessities.
In brief remarks after Mass, Father Creedon paid tribute to all
those who have made the sister relationship between Bánica and Arlington a huge
success. He especially thanked the four bishops who are responsible for this
missionary outreach: Bishop John R. Keating and Bishop Loverde in Arlington and
Bishop Ray Connors and Bishop Jose Grullon in the Dominican Republic.
In his homily during Mass, Bishop Loverde reflected on November
being “a time of great rejoicing and thanksgiving.”
As the church’s liturgical year changes and the Scripture
readings point toward the end times, that shouldn’t lead us toward sadness or
depression, the bishop said.
“The language may seem frightening and upsetting, but listen
closely,” he said. “The Lord tells us that by perseverance you will secure your
lives. Why? Because of hope that has its source in Jesus Christ. This victory
He desires to share with each one of us.”
Bishop Loverde noted that the Jubilee Year of Mercy ended around
the world this past weekend. The bishop closed the cathedral’s Holy Door Nov.
13. Pope Francis officially will bring the Holy Year to a close next weekend in
“While the Jubilee Year of Mercy is ending, God’s mercy endures
forever,” the bishop said. “Never forget this truth. We must not close our
hearts to His saving mercy.”
Bishop Loverde said that this November we celebrate the outreach
of mercy to two parishes in the Dominican Republic through the sacraments,
Christian formation and charitable works.
The bishop recognized the contributions of Father Creedon and the
other priests, volunteers and donors who have enabled the two parishes to
experience God’s mercy. He especially recognized the late Msgr. Thomas Cassidy,
who served at the mission for two years.
One of the lectors at the anniversary Mass was Jeidy de la Rosa
Luperon, a native of Bánica who received a mission scholarship to attend Marymount
University in Arlington. The Spanish Choir from Our Lady of Good Counsel Church
in Vienna, under the direction of Lui Ayala, provided music for the liturgy.
Find out more
See pages 25-29 in this week’s issue for additional
coverage of the Bánica Mission. To help support the mission’s work, send a
check to Arlington Mission Office, 905 Park Ave., Falls Church, Va. 22046 or