On This Date in Nativity History

Fall 1996 & Fall 1997

In 1974 the Diocese of Arlington created the Spanish Apostolate, a special office to meet the needs of the growing Hispanic community in Northern Virginia; and through this office the diocese advanced a vigorous agenda of instruction in the faith, liturgical formation, and the practice of charity.  By 2022, 35 of the diocese’s 70 parishes offered Mass, confessions, religious education, and other ministries in Spanish.  All seminarians are required to learn Spanish by completing an 8-week immersion course in Guatemala where they live with a Spanish-speaking family and study six to eight hours per day.

Nativity was one of the first parishes to offer this full range of services: Mass in Spanish for the first time in fall, 1996; CCD in Spanish began in fall, 1997.  The second Mass on Saturday night was changed to 7:00 pm and was celebrated in Spanish, and religious education classes were offered in Spanish on Saturday evenings, timed to conclude just before the Hispanic Mass began.  The celebrant at the Spanish-language Mass at the beginning and for several years was the Director of the Diocese’s Spanish Apostolate, Father Ovidio Pecharroman (left, photo by permission of the Arlington Catholic Herald).  Father Armando Marsal, DCJM, (right) was assigned to the parish from 2005 to 2009 to serve the needs of the Hispanic community.  After he left, Father Cedric Wilson assumed these responsibilities.  The first coordinator of the religious education program in Spanish was Ana Daysi Tirado.  Currently, the coordinator of the program is Fania Jimenez.


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