Co-directors named for Hispanic ministry

Two heads are better than one.

That’s one of the main reasons Msgr. J. Brian Rejsek says he is pleased that Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, has appointed him and Father Fredi Gomez Torres as co-directors of the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry.

Another reason, Msgr. Rejsek told The Catholic Post, is that he and Father Gomez have been friends for many years. That will only bring them greater joy as the Hispanic ministry office looks ahead to what Msgr. Rejsek calls “the next level” of Hispanic ministry: formation of Hispanic parish lay staff.

While having co-directors is a change in the structure and operation of the Hispanic ministry office, both Msgr. Rejsek and Father Gomez have a lot of experience in serving Spanish-speaking Catholics of the Diocese of Peoria.

Prior to his appointment as co-director, Msgr. Rejsek had responsibility for the Hispanic ministry office as episcopal vicar of Hispanic ministry. It was a position he was given in 2001, just a year after being named diocesan director of Hispanic ministry.

Fluent in Spanish, in 1990 and 1991 Msgr. Rejsek was in charge of Hispanic ministry at St. Mary’s Cathedral, St. Mary’s Parish in East Moline, and St. Mary’s Parish in Moline.

In addition to his new post as co-director of Hispanic ministry, Msgr. Rejsek continues to serve as pastor of St. Joseph’s Parish in Marseilles, administrator of St. Patrick’s Parish in Ransom, defender of the bond and a Tribunal associate judge.

Father Gomez, who is also administrator of Holy Cross Parish in Mendota, and Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Peterstown, brings to his new job not only his own experience as a Mexican Catholic immigrant, but also five years of service to the Hispanic Catholic communities of the parishes of St. Mary’s and St. Francis in Kewanee and Holy Cross in Mendota.

In the next few months, an “institute of formation” for Hispanic laity will be organized. The office has a tentative goal of starting the institute by the early spring of 2009, said Father Gomez.

The institute would include classes for lay formation and religious education in order to train Spanish-speaking Catholics to assist pastors and parochial vicars in parish ministry to the Hispanic community, according to Msgr. Rejsek.

The classes will prepare lay leaders who could teach baptismal, premarital and catechetical classes, he said.

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