Julian Crespo to Lead Glenmary's Plymouth, N.C., Mission
CINCINNATI (November 6, 2012)—Julian Crespo has been hired as the new pastoral coordinator at Glenmary's St. Joan of Arc mission in Plymouth, N.C., and he is excited to take on this ministry. Julian says he and his wife, Adriana, and daughter, Luciana, first experienced the warm family environment at the mission when they visited during his interview process.
"After we celebrated weekend Masses with the mission members both days, they had special meal gatherings for us and made us feel very welcome," he says. "I said to myself that this seems like a very special place. I come from a country and family where this kind of atmosphere is very important, and being at St. Joan has felt like being at home."
Prior to coming to Plymouth, Julian served as pastoral associate for Hispanic ministry for four years at St. Ann Church in Clayton, N.C., also in the Diocese of Raleigh. He and his family moved to the Plymouth area this fall, and he has now settled into his new job.
A native of Cali, Colombia, Julian was formerly a seminarian for the Raleigh diocese at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Md. Before leaving Colombia, he also attended Seminario Mayor San Pedro Apostol and Universidad Santiago, both in Cali. During his time at the seminaries, he says, he gained a great deal of experience in parish work that helped prepare him for his current ministry.
St. Joan of Arc is one of four missions in Kentucky, Mississippi and North Carolina staffed by Glenmary pastoral coordinators. These professional lay ministers are appointed the canonical administrators of their mission parishes by the local bishops. Julian, like other Glenmary pastoral coordinators, is the official presence of the Catholic Church in his county. And he is responsible for the pastoral care, growth and development of the parish community and for fostering ecumenism, evangelization and social outreach.
Father Mike Kerin, the pastor of Glenmary's Catholic Community of Bertie County in Windsor, N.C., will continue to serve as sacramental minister to the Plymouth mission.
Julian has worked with Spanish- and English-speaking congregations before, but this is the first time he will be ministering in a parish that has both language communities—and the first time he will serve as a parish administrator. "My goal is to visit the homes of all the mission members to get to know them better, and I have already made many visits," he says.
He is happy to be working with the home mission society and says "the experience has been and will be very enriching for me." Like other Glenmary coworkers, Julian says he welcomes the challenge and opportunity to serve Catholics in a county where they are a small minority—in the case of Washington County, N.C., less than 1 percent of the population.
"I attended Catholic schools and have been surrounded by Catholics almost all of my life. So being here makes me very aware of what I have to learn from other denominations. I am looking forward to ecumenical relationships with them. And I want to help mission members continue the outreach they have been doing."
The mission community serves the larger community in various ways, including ecumenical social service and worship programs and donations to the local food pantry.