The Spiritans have ministered to Latin America for over 150 years
Since the onset of its presence in Mexico, beginning in the 1970’s, the Congregation has been at the service of the local Church in a very particular situation; parishes with a predominance of indigenous communities. In this service the Spiritans showed themselves to be very close to people and they invested a lot of their time, their talents and their material resources with help coming from benefactors. The Congregation today, has its place in the Mexican Church, which is a great Church, very well organized and with a great history, and is part of it with its specific charism.
The second area of work, in the port city of Tampico was undertaken because of the formation of candidates to Spiritan life. There the confrere service of the local Church undertaking services such as teaching, mission animation and finally the parochial service in a poor zone of the city.
Hispaniola – Haiti and the Domincan Republic
Haiti and the Dominican Republic share the island of Hispaniola, located in the Caribbean between the islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba. Spiritans have been ministering in Haiti for more than 150 years, but 2004 brought the first Spiritan missionary presence in the neighboring country of the Dominican Republic.
About 80 percent of the nine million people in the Dominican Republic are Roman Catholic. Still, the primary work of this new Spiritan team has been evangelization.
Spiritans work mostly on the periphery of the great cities, especially Sao Paulo, Rio and Recife, to which there is a big migration from areas devastated by drought.
We have taken up specific pastoral works such as youth, favelas (congested settlements), counseling, retreats, justice and peace, indigenous groups, etc. These works are undertaken in dialogue with the district and have its support. Not wishing to be disconnected from parish ministry, all make an effort to be connected with a little parish, with at least two or three small communities. This combination is beneficial for the Spiritans and the small parishes.
On December 12, 1931 the first four Spiritans from the American Province arrived in San Juan, Puerto Rico, or Borinquen Island (the Taino Indian name), and were assigned to the parish of Arecibo. More than forty Spiritans were rotated through Arecibo over the next fifty years and helped found more than a dozen parishes, an elementary and high school, and a campus of the Catholic University.
Holy Spirit parish and the school were eventually returned to the dioceses. No other religious community has evidenced such willingness to build and move on with such an authentic missionary spirituality.
A second parish was founded in Hato Rey, where an extraordinarily beautiful church was built and dedicated to the Holy Spirit, along with a second building, an elementary/high school. Sixteen Spiritans contributed their efforts. Today a Spiritan from Puerto Rico, J. Orlando Camacho Torres, directs these societies.
Please visit the mission pages of Puerto Rico and the Caribbean: http://www.espiritanos.com/espiritanos/Nosotros.html