GREENWOOD – Four Redemptorist priests have committed to working in Hispanic ministry in the Delta for five years starting this fall. The men will live in Greenwood, but serve in a number of locations throughout the area. The priests, Fathers Patrick Keyes, Ted Dorsey, Scott Kastenberger, and another priest plan to arri ve in mid-August.
The order reformulated its provinces in 1996 as part of a long-term ministry plan. “Part of our formulation of a new province was to establish mobile teams that would be able to work in a diocese for a short term commitment to work in an area of pressing pastoral need that the ordinary structures of the diocese have not been able to reach, or have not been able to reach sufficiently,” explained Father Keyes, the team leader.
“Working with the office of Hispanic Ministry for the USCCB and later the Diocese of Jackson, we feel called to work in the Delta. In the past ten years the Hispanic presence in the Delta has increased dramatically and the diocese has begun to reach out to the Hispanics in the area. We believe that we will be able to complement and strengthen the ministry that has already begun,” he added.
Brother Ted Dausch, CFC, head of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, welcomes the resources this collaboration can offer. “It is estimated that in our diocese we have more than 40,000 Hispanics. Of this number, more than 80 percent are baptized Catholic. We are in contact with approximately 6,000 of our fellow Catholic Hispanics, which means there are more than 30,000 we don’t know. This is a source of great pain for me, personally,” said Brother Dausch.
Father Keyes went on to introduce his team. “I participated in a similar ministry of the Redemptorists of the Denver Province in the Diocese of Dodge City, Kansas. I was ordained in 1989 and have worked in Hispanic Ministry in Denver, Chicago and Liberal, Kansas. I also served as a missionary in Brazil working along the Amazon River in Northern Brazil.
I currently live in New York City where I am the director of our Redemptorist Seminarians. I will be joined by Father Scott Katzenberger, who was ordained in 1996 and has worked in parishes in New Orleans, and Houston. He has also worked as a missionary in Mexico and he currently serves as assistant Pastor at the Redemptorist Parish in Whittier, California, near Los Angeles,” said Father Keyes. The youngest member of the Redemptorist team is Fr. Ted Dorcey, ordained just last year. Fr. Ted studied Spanish in Cochibamba Bolivia and for the past year he has worked at our Redemptorist Parish in Houston, TX. A fourth priest will be named later.
“In this process, we need your prayers,” said Brother Dausch. “This is not just the work of the Redemptorists, the Office of Hispanic Ministry nor just the diocese, but the mission of the church and ultimately, the mission of Christ,” he added.