Santo Domingo, November 13, 2018 – As of November 8, 2018, the Dominican Republic counts with the presence of a Scalabrinian missionary. Fr. Heitor Castoldi, who has 13 years of experience serving migrant communities in the United States, arrived in Santo Domingo to work as the Administrator of Parish Santa Ana in the populous district of Gualey, home to 35,000 people.
On his first days in Santo Domingo, Fr. Castoldi was accompanied by Fr. Moacir Balen, c.s, Scalabrinian Provincial Superior. Without wasting any moment, Fr. Castoldi and Fr. Balen kicked off the new mission by meeting with the Vicar General, Fr. Lorenzo Vargas, and later with Most Rev. Francisco Osoria Acosta, Archbishop of Santo Domingo. In the evening, Fr. Castoldi and Fr. Balen celebrated their first Mass at Parish Santa Ana.
For many years, Parish Santa Ana was staffed by priests of the Instituto Español de Misiones Extranjeras – IEME. The Scalabrinians will now oversee not only the parish’s pastoral services, but its health clinic which offers basic care for those in most need and a polytechnic institute where 824 students learn technical skills in varied areas.
Fr. Heitor Castoldi cs. has also been appointed the Director of the Office of Human Mobility of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo. As for the presence of migrants in the area, there is a great number of Haitians, since the two countries, Haiti and Dominican Republic, share the same island, besides a growing number of Venezuelans, as well as Cubans and other smaller migrant groups.