Bolivian priest offers Spanish Mass

After traveling 4,516 miles from Potosi, Bolivia, to Grand Haven, Father Angel Florez Espinoza is now serving the St. Patrick/St. Anthony Parish at all Sunday evening Spanish-language masses through September.
Contributed
Jul 13, 2014

The Bolivian priest said he’s ready to fully offer his hands and heart to the local Latino community.
Father Angel — as he is called at his native parish at San Juan Bautista de Vitichi in Potosi, Bolivia — is no stranger to travel. The small church in his hometown finds him serving and traveling to 60 different communities in need. 

His assignment as summer priest in Grand Haven represents his fifth mission away from home. He has served in Africa, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and other Bolivian locations.

Father Angel completed his theology studies in Colombia. He was ordained into the priesthood in 2000 in Bolivia. He said his mission involves taking his own ability, will and hunger to helping others from the divine grace and strength he gains from God.

“My first mission was in Angola, Africa,” he said. “I was there for two years and it was a real tough mission. As if the language and the weather were not difficult enough, I unfortunately got sick.”

After being in a coma for six days suffering from a cerebral form of malaria, Father Angel thanks God that he is still here and alive.

“Serving is a word which best describes my essence,” he said. “Regardless of the risks, I have always placed the gifts I have received from God toward service in the needed communities.”

One of his self-described strengths is his ability to quickly adapt himself to new cultures and changes as he travels to the various missions he serves. His everyday challenge is bringing new people he finds into his missions, so they can become closer to God.

Father Angel says this new assignment in Grand Haven is a “reward” for his dedication and hard work. His friends from Bolivia express pride in his ability to serve as the first Bolivian from his community to make it all the way to the United States for mission work in the local community.

Church for Father Angel represents a “community of communities.” His message for those who attend the Spanish masses at St. Patrick/St. Anthony Parish is to “keep working for God’s kingdom, living our community as a family.”

The community is invited to attend weekly Sunday evening Spanish masses at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, 920 Fulton Ave. They begin at 6 p.m. For more information, visit the parish’s website at www.stpatsgh.org.

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