By Elizabeth Fisher
Special to The CS&T

UPPER DARBY – The Hispanic Ministry of Delaware County celebrated its 10th anniversary and its new center on Sunday, Nov. 21, with a blessing, Mass and a dinner.

Tim O’Connell, one of four pastoral agents for the center, said that the Hispanic ministry was formed by Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua to serve the needs of Hispanic inspaniduals and families throughout Delaware County.

Bishop John McIntyre blessed the center, which found a permanent home in the old school at St. Alice Parish in Upper Darby last year. The center serves both the spiritual and practical needs of Catholic Hispanics in the county, whether they are citizens or new immigrants. {{more}}

“The mission of the Church is to care for people, not check papers. Some of the people we help are documented (residents), others are not,” O’Connell said.

Some of the center’s services include interpreting for those who speak no English, transporting people to doctor or hospital visits and shepherding people through the citizenship process. The center also sponsors computer training and an Alcoholics Anonymous program.

Father Peter Welsh is the coordinator for the center, which also provides spiritual nourishment through Spanish-language Masses celebrated at St. Alice Church in Upper Darby, at 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Another Spanish-language Mass is held at 12:15 p.m. on Sundays at St. Katharine Drexel Parish in Chester.

Sisters Dominica LoBianco, O.S.F.; Regina Christine O’Brien, I.H.M., and Genoveva Morales, O.S.F., work with O’Connell as pastoral agents.

O’Connell’s previous experience serves him well in his current position. Before coming to Upper Darby, he worked for three years as a Maryknoll missionary in El Salvador. He called the success of the center gratifying.

“Without a doubt, we welcome anyone. We help them to adjust to this country. There is a constant flow of immigrants and the need [for this kind of service] is growing,” he said.

Elizabeth Fisher is a freelance journalist and member of St. Mark Parish in Bristol.