Fr. Patrick Keyes with seminarians for the Province of Mexico.
Fr. Patrick Keyes with seminarians for the Province of Mexico.

Ministry in the Province of Mexico

By Patrick Keyes, C.Ss.R.

In anticipation of the unification of the Denver, Baltimore and Mexico Provinces, Fr. Francis “Paco” Colunga of the Province of Mexico and Fr. Patrick Keyes are on loan to each other’s provinces. Fr. Paco studied scripture in Rome and is already collaborating with the Hispanic community at St. Alphonsus Parish in Minneapolis on opportunities for formation and scripture study. Hopes are that the necessary visa permissions for him to minister here for the quadrennium can be obtained as part of the confrere exchange with the Province of Mexico.

I am serving at Holy Redeemer Parish in Mexico City as part of this same effort to strengthen our connections across borders. Fr. Roberto Morales is pastor of Holy Redeemer and Fr. Reynaldo Servin and I serve as his associates. In addition to three older priests who help with the celebration of sacraments, the community house serves as the Provincial residence and includes the Provincial and Econome. Six students in temporary vows who are studying theology at Jesuit University and three aspirants make up the community of 18. Fr. Roberto is also the local superior, the Provincial Vicar and the formation director, so he is quite busy. I have also been given the title of Socius for the formation community and participate in the formation community events as another professed Redemptorist.

Holy Redeemer is a large urban parish, where celebrations include the Eucharist, funerals, baptisms, weddings and, of course, quinceañeras. There is only one Redemptorist community in Mexico City, but two churches. Holy Trinity is in the center of Mexico City very near the cathedral. The church was severely damaged by the earthquake of 2016 and remains closed. Services are held in a classroom attached to the rectory. A publications house and bookstore are attached to this community.

My responsibilities include helping with the sacraments, daily duty and coordinating the catechism program at both sites. Our parish is quite near the American Embassy, as well as the Irish and British Embassies, so there are many English-speaking in the neighborhood. In August we began a Mass in English that I celebrate every Sunday morning at 9:00 am. Attendance is slowly increasing, and it is streamed live on Facebook. The Catholic LGBTQ community also sponsors a weekly Mass for the community called Misa de inclusion. Holy Redeemer Parish hosts the liturgy on the first Sunday of the month. I try to join the community for Masses at other sites during the rest of the month.

As we continue to work towards the formation of a new unit, I certainly hope that members of the Denver Province will come and visit the Mexican Province. Even if you never work here or don’t speak Spanish, it would be beneficial to come to know one another and our ministries.