Religious orders to staff two parishes

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The Arlington Diocese is turning over the administration of two parishes to religious order priests, according to a June 8 announcement by Bishop Paul S. Loverde.

The Missionhurst Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will assume responsibility of St. Ann Church in Arlington, while the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary (DCJM) will assume responsibility of Queen of Apostles Church in Alexandria. Both changes are effective June 26.

In addition, Bishop Loverde appointed two other pastors. Father James C. Hudgins will become pastor of St. Jude Church in Fredericksburg and Father Matthew H. Zuberbueler will become pastor of St. Louis Church in Alexandria. Both had been parochial administrators at their respective parishes.

"Welcoming both the Missionhurst Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary to their new apostolates brings great joy to me," Bishop Loverde said. "These two religious communities, the former long present in active ministry in our diocese, the latter fairly new to this part of the world, will enrich the parishes they shepherd and our entire diocesan family."

The Missionhurst community, founded in Belgium in 1862, has its U.S. provincial house in Arlington and currently staffs Precious Blood Church in Culpeper. Although primarily known for its missionary outreach to China, Asia and Africa, the community has a long history in Virginia dating to the 1940s. Missionhurst priests primarily served in parishes in the Shenandoah Valley, such as Our Lady of the Blue Ridge in Madison and St. Peter Church in Washington, Va. The community also staffed Holy Spirit Church in Annandale.

"We have been privileged to have the Missionhurst Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary play a role in our diocese since its foundation and I know that they will continue and build upon their spiritual and pastoral works at St. Ann," Bishop Loverde said. "We are fortunate to have them, and I know the St. Ann community will embrace them."

Father Ramel O. Portula will replace Father Donald C. Greenhalgh as pastor of St. Ann Church. Father Greenhalgh will become pastor emeritus, with residence at St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax.

Father Portula will be joined later this summer by then newly ordained Father Frederic Mizengo Mabe, a native of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

"I am very grateful to Bishop Loverde for this joyful opportunity to strengthen our missionary presence in the Diocese of Arlington," said Father Portula. "The Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary since its birth in 1862 through the pioneering spirit of our founder, Father Theophile Verbist, has been at the service of God's mission. We look forward to joining St. Ann Church and forging deep ties with the parish family and community."

The Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary is a relatively new religious institute that was inspired by the teachings of Blessed John Paul II. It was established in 1987 in Cuenca, Spain, where the motherhouse and novitiate still are located.

"Religious institute" is the term used by the Second Vatican Council and the revised Code of Canon Law to describe any religious order, society or congregation in which the members take public vows of poverty, chastity and obedience, and live a common life.

Father Leopoldo Vives will replace Father Kevin B. Walsh as pastor of Queen of Apostles. Father Javier Nieva will be parochial vicar. Father Ignacio de Ribera will be in residence, while teaching philosophy at Catholic University in Washington. Father Walsh will begin full-time studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

"We were privileged to have DCJM Fathers minister in our diocese from 2004 to 2009 and I am pleased to welcome them back as they build upon their spiritual and pastoral works at Queen of Apostles Church," Bishop Loverde said. "The Disciples of the Hearts of Jesus and Mary are a young order, but I know the Queen of Apostles community will be as impressed with their vigor and spirituality as I am. We are fortunate to have them."

Former Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput invited DCJM priests to staff St. Mary Church in Littleton, Colo., in 2007. They also staff Santa Maria Josefa del Corazon de Jesus Church and operate Stella Maris School, both in Madrid.

"During my years as archbishop of Denver, I had the privilege of meeting many fine young priests," said Archbishop Chaput. "Very few have the blend of maturity, joy, energy and discipline I find in the Disciples."

Father Jose Noriega is superior general of the institute, which has a strong interest in education and ministering to families. The institute has 20 priests and 10 men currently in formation.

"We are very grateful to Bishop Loverde and elated to take on this blessed responsibility," said Father Vives. "We come here with great hope and enthusiasm to share the blessings of the Lord upon the parish and its members and families. We look forward to joining Queen of Apostles Church and creating strong bonds of faith and service with our new parish family."

Parishes staffed by religious orders

The following diocesan parishes are served by religious communities:

Holy Martyrs of Vietnam, Arlington - Order of Preachers (Dominicans)

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Arlington - Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans)

St. Joseph, Alexandria - St. Joseph's Society of the Sacred Heart (Josephites)

Precious Blood, Culpeper - Missionhurst Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary

St. Joseph, Herndon - Third Order Regular Franciscans

Our Lady of the Valley, Luray - Third Order Regular Franciscans

St. John Neumann, Reston - Oblates of St. Francis de Sales

Our Lady of Good Counsel, Vienna - Oblates of St. Francis de Sales

St. Francis of Assisi, Triangle - Order of Friars Minor

Christ the Redeemer, Sterling - Franciscan Friars of the Atonement

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2013