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Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia
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Latino/x Ministries
A ministry to Virginia's Eastern Shore and a resource for parish leaders.


Celebrating Black History Month and the Afro-Latino Spirit
Afro-Latinos are part of the Latino/x community and are "characterized by their diverse views of racial identity, reflecting the complex and varied nature of race and identity among Latinos." As part of the celebration of Black History Month, Padre Mario Melendez (chaplain for the Latino/x Ministry in the Diocese of Southern Virginia) shares some thoughts about the Afro-Latino spirit. Click here to watch.


Chaplain for Latino/x Ministries - The Rev. Mario Melendez

The Rev. (Padre) Mario Meléndez is the chaplain for St. Miguel/St. Michael and All Angels, the diocesan ministry for the Latino/x community. Padre Mario helps the Diocese of Southern Virginia determine communities where Latino/x ministry needs exist and assist in developing those ministries; this can include, for example, Spanish and bilingual ministry efforts. Congregations and those seeking to implement or expand the ministry to the Latino/x community can reach Padre Mario for information and resources. He also invites everyone to join him in prayer discerning the will of God for this ministry. 

Padre MarioIn addition to his diocesan role, Padre Mario is also the Episcopal chaplain and co-pastor at Church of the Holy Apostles, Virginia Beach, an Episcopal and Roman Catholic ecumenical community recognized by both the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Virginia and the Catholic Diocese of Richmond.  

Padre Mario is working on nurturing the Latino/x ministry already present in the Eastern Shore, and new ministry initiatives in Virginia Beach and South Hill. You can follow Padre Mario and the Latino/x ministry on Facebook: @SanMiguelStMichael

"I always try to remember the anchor for any ministry in the Church: it is el Evangelio de Cristo, the Gospel of Christ," Mario said.

Padre Mario was born and raised in Puerto Rico and was received into the Episcopal Church while pursuing an undergraduate degree in religious studies at Purdue University.He attended seminary at Boston University School of Theology, graduating with a Master of Theological Studies. After graduation, he was ordained to the priesthood in the Anglican Church of Canada and served in the Diocese of Western Newfoundland. He is married to Catherine Wallace de Meléndez. She is a registered nurse in oncology and hematology, working with children. They have a newborn baby named Thomas and a 3-year old cardigan-welsh corgi named Ripley. 

Resources for Latino Ministry can be found on our Congregational Development page.

Latino Ministries on the Eastern Shore

For more information on the work of this ministry, visit www.dossantosfoodpantry.org.

Video: Latino Ministries for the Eastern Shore


Last Published: May 19, 2023 1:26 PM