Latin American Community

The Latin American Ministry began ten years ago with the arrival in Rome of a priest from Ecuador and his wife and young family. They were here to minister to the numbers of Latin-Americans who come to Rome to work. They sat at the back of the Church on Sundays, their Spanish prayer books in hand, until one day Fr. Michael, with the approval of Bishop Jeffrey, invited Fr. Juan Erazo to celebrate in Spanish one Sunday. The idea was a success, and the community began to grow, until there were about fifty people attending regularly. In November 1996, Juan’s wife, Cecilia Monge Erazo, became the first woman to be ordained an Episcopal priest within the walls of the City of Rome. In 1998 Juan and Cecilia were called to the United States to minister in two different parishes in the Los Angeles area. For a short spell their daughter Viviana took over the ministry here at St Paul’s, until she too was called into lay ministry in the States. At this point the Erazos’ son Aldo, after much prayer, agreed to take over, and in 2001 was licensed by the Bishop in Charge, The Rt. Rev. Jeffery Rowthorn, as Lay Pastoral Leader.

Since then, working alongside Fr.Michael, Aldo has reorganized the Hispanic ministry, concentrating less on the social aspects and more on the spiritual, inspiring and raising up other lay leaders to take on responsibilities for bible studies, youth group and music. Today there are over a hundred people who come to worship in Spanish each Sunday, and between fifty and seventy who attend weekly bible studies. Aldo was ordained as Deacon on Easter Sunday, 2005.

On 10th September 2002 the Latin American Community celebrated the 10th anniversary of its ministry here at St. Paul’s. In honor of the occasion the community has inaugurated a monthly newsletter, ‘Vida.’