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Spanish Apostolate celebrates 45 years

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Volunteers, priests and deacons who work closely with the Hispanic community in the diocese gathered for the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Spanish Apostolate at the Cathedral of St. Thomas More in Arlington Nov. 20.

Arlington’s first bishop, Bishop Thomas Welsh, founded this office 45 years ago to minister pastorally and spiritually to immigrants.

“It was a great dream that was gradually taking shape, until it became what we are today,” said Father José Eugenio Hoyos, director of the Spanish Apostolate. Over the years, many volunteers with their dedication and example have developed a pastoral work that has grown and is increasingly reflected in the work of evangelization carried through all the programs that make up the office of the Spanish Apostolate: Marriage Encounters, Charismatic Renewal, Pre-Cana, Legion of Mary, Young Adults, Christian Life, Emmaus Ministry, Catechesis Ministry, Convalidations, and the Guadalupe Radio Team.

Father Hoyos thanked the volunteers for their work and especially thanked Bishop Michael F. Burbidge “for his support, his patience, his guidance, and his accompaniment to our immigrant families and our pastoral programs who have enriched the faith and have brought Jesus and the Church closer to our Hispanic community.”

Father Hoyos also remembered the past directors: Father Luis Valdivieso, Rev. José María Ambros and Father Ovidio Pecharroman, “who left a mark (on) this office and enriched it with their wisdom.”

Father Hoyos also highlighted the presence of Hispanic priests and those priests who have made such a tremendous effort to learn Spanish and accompany Hispanic families.

The opening prayer was given by Father Thomas P. Ferguson, vicar general, and Bishop Burbidge’s remarks emphasized the work of the Spanish Apostolate and the time and talents of the many volunteers who have given strength to the Hispanic pastoral ministry throughout these years. He thanked Father Hoyos and said that the V Encuentro was a great incentive for the immigrant community and a light of hope for young adults.

Among the priests attending were Father Kevin B. Walsh, pastor of Precious Blood in Culpeper; Father Ignatius Harding, O.F.M., of St. Francis of Assisi in Triangle; Father Matthew H. Zuberbueler, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua in Falls Church; Father John T. O'Hara of Holy Family Church in Dale City; Father Alexander Diaz of Our Lady of Angels in Woodbridge, Father Alan Ventura of St. Anthony in Falls Church, Father Alberto Bueno, T.O.R. of St. Joseph in Herndon and Deacons Alberto Bernaola and José López.

Father Hoyos entrusted the office to the Virgin of Guadalupe and patron St. Thomas More to continue blessing the work of evangelization of the office of the Spanish Apostolate and Hispanic families in the diocese.

Saravia is the administrative assistant for diocesan Spanish Apostolate. 

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2019