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Bishop Loverde celebrates silver anniversary Mass for Bánica Mission

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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 Republic.

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 Rome.

“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 visit arlingtonmissions.org.


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016