As the US celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15th – October 15th), the Society of Mary recalls the contributions of former provincial, Rev. Ted Keating, SM, to the Hispanic community in New Orleans, Louisiana. He was assigned to St. Julian Eymard Church in Algiers in 1984, where he was to serve the pastoral needs of Spanish-speaking congregations in the archdiocese within the parish of St. Julian Eymard parish. A few years later Fr. Keating became pastor of St. Julian serving the one parish community comprised of Hispanics, African Americans, and the founding white community. Prior to entering religious life, Fr. Keating had been an attorney in Chicago, Illinois, so he utilized his legal background to assist with immigration problems and became involved with the Archdiocese’s effort to help refugees obtain political asylum in a immigration law firm founded by the Archdiocese. His principal practice was in the area of law of Asylum for refugees.
At that same time, the Province reached out to one of the large Texas border parishes with a team of 4 Marists serving not only the parish but the great needs of the Hispanics coming across the border. Fr. Tony O’Connor, SM, at San Felipe de Jesus in Brownsville, TX, has been pastor here since 2013 and continues that ministry.