Catholic priests known as Redemptorists have spent five years expanding outreach to the Hispanic community in the Mississippi Delta.
The missionary priests are moving away for other assignments, the Greenwood Commonwealth reported.
“I think we made great strides,” said the Rev. Scott Katzenberger, leader of the group, which now consists of two others, the Rev. Mike McAndrew and the Rev. Kevin Zubel.
The Rev. Ted Dorcey recently departed for a parish in Whittier, California.
Redemptorist missionaries have been serving from a residence at Locus Benedictus Retreat Center since shortly after it opened in Greenwood in 2014.
“Our goal is to get ourselves out of a job,” Katzenberger said.
The priests came to train lay people, priests and others to provide opportunities for worship and support. Katzenberger is particularly pleased to have helped Our Lady of Victory parish in Cleveland establish a ministry for Hispanic residents.
“We have one there now, a very well established and functioning community,” he said. “That has turned into a real success. I think we leave the Hispanic ministry in much better shape than when we got here.”
McAndrew has supported Hispanic families facing immigration problems. He will be working in San Antonio to train other priests. Zubel will be stationed at St. Gerard’s Parish in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Katzenberger will be the rector of the Shrine of St. Anne de Beaupre near Quebec City in Canada.
Magdalene Abraham of Locus Benedictus said the Redemptorists have been a tremendous help in the Delta. She said she hopes more priests and members of religious orders will come to help.
“We are actively looking to get more,” Abraham said. “We are confident that God is going to send us more to work here.”
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