Forty-seven Spanish-speaking parishioners of the Diocese of Wilmington, took a “brave step” when they were commissioned May 2 at St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington as lay pastoral agents for 16 parishes.
The men and women were trained during 10 weeks of courses to work with the priests of their parishes by assisting in sacramental preparation, youth ministry, evangelization, and the sacramental and prayer life of Hispanic Catholics.
Father Steven Hurley, diocesan vicar general, presented the lay pastoral agents their certificates during the ceremony at St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington.
“What you’re doing and have done is really a response to your baptism,” Father Hurley told “graduates.” “When we’re baptized, all of us are baptized as priests, prophets and kings.”
Father Hurley said the baptized pray as a priest prays and sanctifies, speak about God in prophetic fashion, and are called to lead the people of God in faith as a king or queen leads.
“Pray with and for the people you assist,” Father Hurley told the new parish ministers. “You will speak to them and teach them about God and you will lead them closer to God.
“You’ve taken a brave step to lead your friends and your community closer to God.”
Father Hurley told the new lay pastoral agents that their program “is something we’d like to see in all of our parishes, so in many ways, you are leading us.”
Franciscan Father Chris Posch, the head of the diocese’s Office for Hispanic Ministry, noted before the ceremony that the role of the lay pastoral agents would vary according to parish needs.
“The main thing will be they’re working as a team with the local clergy to realize the needs of the people,” he said.
The parish pastoral agents were asked to develop a ministry plan for their parish during training. If their parish already had a pastoral plan, they were asked to develop one or two projects to implement as pastoral agents.
Anna Vega, the retired director of Hispanic Ministry of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, conducted the 10-week training program.
The courses included leadership development, servant leadership, and crisis intervention and resolution.
The newly certified diocesan lay pastoral agents and their parishes are:
Holy Spirit Parish, New Castle
Immaculate Conception, Marydel, Md.
Froilan Berduo, Angela Cordova Cifuentes, Epifanio Morales.
Our Lady of Fatima, New Castle
Claudia Cruz, Florencia Dominguez, Diana Ramirez, German Abadia
Our Lady of Guadalupe, Roxana
Maria Esther Zamora, Mara Murillo Capetillo, Patrica Cotes; Elias Diaz Rojas.
Our Lady of Lourdes, Seaford
Moises Garcia, Martin Leon, Elizabeth Villanueva, Roque Gomez Sanchez.
St. Christopher, Chester, Md.
Ireri M. Britton, Luz Elena Rave.
St. Dennis, Galena, Md.
Miriam Vazquez, Maria Luisa Tapia.
St. Francis de Sales, Salisbury, Md.
Guadalupe Espinoza, Maria Gomez, Josefa Sang.
St. Joseph, Middletown
Victoria Aguilar, Dolores Bernal, Alfonso Lopez,
St. John the Apostle, Milford
Francisco Chavez, Marta Chavez, Filadelfo Gonzalez, Graciela Soto.
St. Catherine of Siena
Yolanda Torres-Ward, Noe Trujillo.
Holy Cross, Dover
Miguelina Cruz, Tayde Hernandez Flores, Mariana Pitti, Carlos Gonzalez.
St. Agnes, Rising Sun, Md.
Holy Rosary, Claymont
Selso Garcia, Jose Trinidad Perez.
Holy Angels, Newark
Maria de Pilar Carazo, Marta Just, Victor Lorzo, Ricardo Nunez
Ss. Peter and Paul, Easton, Md.
Eduardo Guerreo, Magda Kellum, Rolando W. Perez, Ana Rodriguez.