Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ask and Ye Shall Receive: A full-time Spanish speaking priest for St. Ann's (Take 2)

Long time readers of this blog may recall that back in December 2009, we celebrated the appointment of Fr. Jorge Acho as the first regular Spanish-speaking priest in residence at my former parish, St. Ann's. The appointment came after the Hispanic community there had maintained a liturgy for 15 years with visiting priests. The visitors were good, and sometimes even excellent, but it made for a haphazard pastoral care situation and the community needed someone who would be available on more than just Sundays if it was to grow physically, spiritually, and sacramentally. I fought the battle with the diocese and, though we won -- only temporarily, as it turned out, the struggle was emotionally costly and I ended up changing parishes.
To make a long story short, what looked good on paper -- a Peruvian priest coming to attend to the needs of a predominantly Peruvian community -- ended up being a failure. We can debate about the factors that were to blame for this failure but the bottom line was that, after only a few months, Fr. Acho was uncomfortable at St. Ann's, and between that and family problems back in Peru, he decided to leave the Arlington diocese and go home. So back to visiting priests...until now.

Today, I was delighted to read in The Catholic Herald that Fr. Lino Rico Rostro (photo) has been promoted from priest in residence at Christ the Redeemer to parochial vicar at St. Ann's. This is a coup for the entire Hispanic Catholic community in the Arlington Diocese because rarely have our Hispanic priests risen into the parochial administrative ranks. His appointment to St. Ann's reflects the hard work and prayer of that community, as well as his own qualifications. Fr. Lino is calm, kind, and hard-working. His presence will be helpful both to our hermanos y hermanas as well as to the Spanish speaking patients at Arlington Hospital where St. Ann's also ministers.

To my brothers and sisters at Cristo Redentor: Lo siento. Santa Ana now has your Padre Lino. I hope they will take good care of him and that this appointment will last a while. Felicitaciones, Padre Lino!

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