By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — Deacon Hector Donastorg has stepped out of his comfort zone for “the work of the Lord.”
Deacon Donastorg’s professional career has revolved around engineering, but he’s accepted a new challenge as the Archdiocese of Mobile’s new Director of Hispanic Ministry.
“I’m extremely, extremely excited … and also a little bit nervous,” Deacon Donastorg said. “I’m stepping out of that zone, but I’m at peace and very comfortable.”
Ministry is not new to Deacon Donastorg. He was ordained a permanent deacon earlier this year and has been involved with Hispanic Ministry and the St. Vincent de Paul Society at St. Michael the Archangel Parish in Auburn and St. Mary in Opelika.
Deacon Donastorg is a native of the Dominican Republic and arrived in the United States 26 years ago, before settling in Alabama in 2001.
He and his wife, Amparo, have three daughters.
“He has great experience with the Hispanic community and their events. He received strong recommendations attesting to his leadership abilities and commitment to ministry. Having just completed his years of study for the deaconate, I find his commitment to the Catholic church to be extraordinary. I look forward to sharing ministry with him,” said Gwen Byrd, executive director for Catholic Education/Superintendent.
Deacon Donastorg said the seed to serve had been planted during his childhood in the Dominican Republic as he saw his mother ministering to those in need, but the thought of ministering went dormant for many years until he arrived in the Auburn area.
“That seed that had been planted many, many years ago resurfaced and it was watered by getting to know many, many wonderful people at St. Michael and getting involved in ministries,” Deacon Donastorg said.
One of Deacon Donastorg’s first orders of business since being named director of Hispanic Ministry was to attend V Encuentro last week in Grapevine, Texas. About 3,200 diocesan delegates, bishops and representatives from ecclesial movements and Catholic organizations participated in four days of dialogue and consultation to discern the priority issues for Hispanic ministry currently and for years to come.
The Archdiocese of Mobile had 12 delegates in attendance.
“It’s one big family and a lot of energy,” Deacon Donastorg said from V Encuentro. “This is an amazing experience and a great honor to be here.”
The V Encuentro, surpassed its goal of identifying and preparing 25,000 new ministry leaders.
The three most pressing priorities identified focus on developing faith formation opportunities, strengthening families, and developing more paid positions for Hispanic youth and young adult ministries. Another important outcome of the Encuentro is the goal to develop initiatives that promote and create new pathways of leadership for young adults.
“The experience of the Encuentro surpassed all my expectations,” said Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, the Vatican’s secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
— Catholic News Service contributed to this article.