By Fr. Bernard Lorenz
Editor’s note: There has been great growth in the number of Spanish-speaking people within the borders of the state. The 2010 census recorded that in 10 years, the Hispanic population in Nebraska had increased from 94,425 to 168,023— a growth of 77%. In June 2017, Father Bernard Lorenz was appointed Priest in Residence at St. Patrick Parish in McCook, to attend to the pastoral needs of Spanish-speaking people in 21 parishes in the western part of the Diocese of Lincoln . He submitted this report on the activities of his ministry.
In June 2017 I began to do full-time Hispanic ministry in the west of our diocese and helping out area priests. It has been a grand joy. After many thousands of miles, we have active Hispanic Catholic outreach communities in Hayes Center and Smithfield as well as the McCook and Wallace communities.
One day, in McCook, I had a double wedding at which two received first Holy Communion–after three celebrated reconciliation–one was baptized and, with bishop’s delegation, three were confirmed. Alleluia.
Every Sunday I enjoy my basics of the McCook 4 p.m. and Wallace 7 p.m. Masses with confessions and 120 miles in the car. Seven times, when I covered a weekend for a priest of the area, I celebrated four Masses and one Communion liturgy with many confessions and over 200 miles. The people are great and needy and the roads are good and my car works well so I am eager in my mission.
This past spring, two children from Imperial joined with the seven children of Wallace to receive First Holy Communion, in Spanish, in the St. Mary Wallace Church with great joy.
The catechist, Perla, being bilingual, taught them valiantly each Sunday evening before holy Mass. She and many others are heroes of faith in very difficult conditions. I feel honored to work with such great future saints.
We have been reviewing Biblical Salvation History, Job, Proverbs, Psalms and the Sunday Scriptures in our three active Bible Studies groups.
We had three “All Saints” celebrations with saint costumes and lots of favorite saints on parade. All Souls Day was marked in Hayes Center with pictures of the faithful departed and their favorite foods, after we celebrated a very emotional Mass for their eternal rest. It was very colorful and delicious.
Your prayers are much appreciated as we plant The Word and harvest the virtues of the Lord in holy souls in these hills and valleys.
I hope to report to you again before the next year and one half!