7/11/2014 11:28:00 AM CF priest reassigned to Chaska parish
by Sue Sullivan
An open house was held for Father Fernando Ortega, pastor at St. Pius V for the past two years. He has been reassigned to Guardian Angels parish in downtown Chaska to take over the ethnically diverse parish and school, in part because he is bilingual having grown up in Mexico.
During his final Mass at St. Pius V, he reflected on his brief tenure. He exclaimed to a standing ovation, "You are all wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and I will keep you in my heart!"
Of the projects at the church overseen by Fr. Ortega as pastor, the building project housing a new elevator and expansion of the lower level social hall and kitchen was the largest. He also replaced the well-worn church pews with pews from a closed church on St. Paul's west side. "They were free," he explained.
Part of one "new" pew was reconstructed as an individual seat given to the priest. It will be placed in a garden of the large Gothic church for reflection and prayer at his new assignment.
His greatest accomplishment, however, was reaching out to people, especially young families, and seeing them coming in and becoming active in various ministries. "It was gratifying to give them a feeling of ownership in the parish," said Fr. Ortega.
"My greatest satisfaction is 'patience,'" he declared. "Not only have I been able to minister to the people but I have received so many gifts by opening my eyes to be evangelized by the people. It has been a process."
He continued, "I am very pleased to have become close to so many people. I rejoice, I walk, I cry, I grow... I know them, and I hope they also feel close to me."
Fr. Ortega also became engaged in the larger community being involved in the Cannon Falls Rotary Club, and on Memorial Day, being a speaker at the Colvill Memorial. "I was pleased to be embraced by community and be engaged on an ecumenical level," he stated.
Having restarted a youth program, and pleased with the response, Father Ortega had intended to invest further in the youth with speakers and other activities. Now that will be the purview of his successor.
Father Terrance Beezon has been reassigned to St. Pius V. He hails from St. John Vianney parish in South Saint Paul.