An announcement is printed in this Sunday’s church bulletin at St. Mary’s Parish and St. Frances Cabrini that Rev. Enrique Hernandez is leaving.
“It is with renewed trust in God that I share this news with you. Archbishop Listecki has asked me to take a new assignment beginning on June 21, 2016. At this time, I do not know the details of my new assignment; however we will let you know in May, as all the assignments will be announced at that time. I am very thankful to all of you for making the experience of my first assignment a wonderful blessing. Please pray for me during this time of transition. Blessings! Father Enrique”
Rev. Enrique first arrived at St. Frances Cabrini three years ago. He was the first bilingual resident clergy that the parish had in quite some time.
Noelle Braun is Executive Director of Casa Guadalupe Education Center. She was at the Spanish Mass last week at St. Mary’s when Rev. Enrique explained he would be leaving in June.
“It’s really disappointing we’ll be losing him,” Braun said. “He has served the Latino community well.”
Braun said she has seen the congregation grow since Rev. Enrique has been the shared priest at St. Mary’s and St. Frances Cabrini. “A lot of people respect him and they come to him for counsel; he’s helped with baptisms, quinceaneras, and he’s part of their lives,” she said.
On Sunday, Braun said she wished Rev. Enrique the best. “This is a very bitter-sweet moment and I believe God has a plan and I’m praying we’ll continue to see the Latino community have a focal point in the church,” she said.
On average about 100 people from the Hispanic community come to Sunday’s Spanish Mass at St. Mary’s in Barton.
Katie Schaitberger, Director of Evangelization at Saint Frances Cabrini, acknowledged Rev. Enrique has been a tremendous priest for the West Bend community.
“He will be deeply missed,” said Schaitberger. “We have been fortunate to walk with Father Enrique through his first years of priesthood – this is a true privilege for our entire community.
“Father Enrique is a wonderful example of what it means to be a missionary in the Catholic Church. He strives each day to live his faith, and help others on their journey to heaven. We will miss him, but look forward to all that the Lord has in store for us here in West Bend.”
Rev. Enrique was born and raised in Colombia, South America. A graduate from Christ the Priest Seminary (Colombia), Sacred Heart School of Theology (Hales Corners, WI), and Saint Francis de Sales Seminary (St. Francis, WI). He is fluent in Spanish and English.
Rev. Enrique was ordained to the Priesthood of Jesus Christ on Nov. 3, 2012 and worked the past three years as a shared associate pastor at both St. Frances Cabrini and Saint Mary’s Immaculate Conception Parish in West Bend.
It is not known whether the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will place another Spanish-speaking priest in the community. Schaitberger said “the Spanish community will not be unserved, although it might look different.”
On a side note: Holy Angels Parish is also on the verge of change as Rev. Gerald Brittain is also leaving. The story was first reported Jan. 2 at http://www.washingtoncountyinsider.com
Read it here at New Pastor to start at Holy Angels in June.