COLUMBIA — Hispanic ministry is about to get an extra infusion of energy in the form of Brother Carlos Parrilla.
This Holy Cross brother is bringing an unbridled enthusiasm from campus ministry to his new career as manager of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Charleston.
Now based in the Midlands, Brother Carlos moved south after serving as campus minister at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron, Ohio, a Holy Cross School, and as vocations director for the Midwest Province of Holy Cross Brothers before that.
He will be coordinating ministries and developing programs, working with Hispanic youth and promoting education. But he also hopes to focus on the elderly, an area that he said needs particular attention.
“The issue of migration is also going to be of great importance,” he said. “We have situations where people come in and they leave so what do you do while they are here.”
When it comes to the migrant issue, Brother Carlos said that the focus should be on integration and not assimilation.
“How do you integrate the cultures,” he asked. “What we need is acceptance.”
Brother Carlos said that there is more going on in Hispanic ministry in the diocese than people realize.
“The little contact that I have had has given me very good vibes,” he said. “St. John Neumann in Columbia has a thriving community. They have a lot of retired military who are giving their time and talent to newly arrived people.”
Brother Carlos also brings his gifts of language to the table in his work.
“I’m a language teacher, I taught Spanish, French and English,” he said. He grew up in Lorraine, Ohio, and has spent much of his ministry teaching. His Puerto Rican background adds to his ability to connect with his ministry.
“I guess I was called to it,” he said. “Being Hispanic, I have a lot to offer. I’m bilingual and bicultural.”
He also has two degrees, in French and Spanish from St. Edwards University in Austin, Texas, a Holy Cross school. His graduate degree in linguistics with a concentration in Spanish development comes from Notre Dame. He entered the community of the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1962 and took his vows in 1964. He was drawn to his vocation “right out of high school.”
Brother Carlos has literally traveled all over the world, but feels drawn to the south.
“I like the southern way of living and I like the lifestyle here,” he said.
The Catholic Office of Hispanic Ministry is located at 2700 Ashland Road, Columbia, SC 29210.
For more information contact Brother Carlos at Parrilla@catholic-doc.org.