The first opportunity for Philadelphia’s Hispanic Catholic community to gather in worship as a group with Auxiliary Bishop Edward Deliman was Sunday, Oct. 9, at the celebration of Hispanic heritage at the Cathedral Basilica of SS. Peter and Paul.
He was ordained by Archbishop Charles Chaput to the episcopacy on Aug. 18 and charged with the care of Hispanic Catholic ministry in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Bishop Deliman was the principal celebrant and homilist for the annual Mass, or as the worship program proclaimed, “Arquidiocesis de Filadelfia Misa de la Herencia Hispana 2016. Celebrente y homalista Reverendisimo Edward Michael Deliman, Obispo auxiliary.”
“This is a Mass that brings together all the Hispanic cultures that we have in the archdiocese; they celebrate their faith and their baptism,” Bishop Deliman said in an interview before the Mass.
As to how he is adjusting to his new role in the episcopate, “I’m still learning,” he said. “When someone says ‘Bishop’ I kind of look around to see who is the bishop. Little by little I am learning the archdiocesan system and my roles as bishop.”
The Spanish-speaking Catholic population “is a great gift to the church,” Bishop Deliman said. “Any time we have immigrants knocking on our door it is an opportunity to enrich the church.”
This particular gift was amply displayed through the entrance procession that included banners representing at least a score of Spanish-speaking countries from Argentina to Venezuela. Also present were signs representing the many parishes within the archdiocese that have Hispanic ministry.
“We have representatives of all of the parishes, and Bishop Deliman has been to most of them,” said Kathia Arango, director of Hispanic ministry for the archdiocese. “We have people calling, telling how grateful they are; this is the first time we’ve had a bishop for Hispanic ministry.”
In his homily, delivered in Spanish, Bishop Deliman emphasized togetherness, how all are together and should be grateful for what they have.
“We come together in a place like this united by culture,” he said.
Some members of his congregation were really multi-cultural. For example Iris Reyes Bugg, a communications major at Chestnut Hill College, was born in Honduras but raised in the U.S.
“I have Honduran identity and am really proud of it,” she said, “but I also have an American identity,” she said. “This is my first Mass to see Bishop Deliman as a bishop. This means so much because we have so many different cultures, so many different ways of expressing we are Hispanic. When you see everyone (and) see all the flags you realize we are one.”