San Juan Diego Hispanic Pastoral Center in Fort Pierce was built from small beginnings thirty years ago. Father Gerard Don Bosco Redden founded the San Juan Diego Pastoral Center in 1985, when he was assigned by the first bishop of the newly formed Diocese of Palm Beach, Thomas V. Daily, to serve the Hispanic communities of St. Lucie and Indian River counties. Father Redden worked mainly with migrant farmworkers and dedicated himself to serving immigrants and the poor in Spanish-speaking communities.
After Father Redden passed away in 2001, Father Jaime Dorado took over the leadership of the pastoral center. He focused on the strengthening of the congregation and the affective utilization of the parish hall at the pastoral center. Father Dorado also saw the expansion of the pastoral center’s chapel, which now seats 400 people.
San Juan Diego Hispanic Pastoral Center serves a large Mexican population and a variety of people from other Spanish-speaking countries. Its religious education classes are facilitated by 62 catechetical teachers, who educate more than 600 children a year. The mission also has an extensive youth ministry, which includes a teen youth group called OFA (Oración, Formación, Acción), an Easter Sunrise Mass, and a Marian Rosary Vigil. This ministry serves close to 3,000 youths and young adults, who are second generation citizens of Hispanic immigrants.
When asked what makes San Juan Diego Pastoral Center unique, Father Dorado said that it is the community’s 250 volunteers that make the mission’s existence possible. “People give freely of their time and are examples of prayer, hope, and faith. They have found a way to make the pastoral center home to immigrants looking to belong,” said Father Dorado.
San Juan Diego Hispanic Pastoral Center is located at 401 South 30th St., Fort Pierce, adjacent to St. Anastasia Catholic Church. For more information, call (772) 468-0806.