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By Kevin Reardon / 2016-02-28 15:26:41

The Most Reverend Jesús Murgui, Bishop of the Diocese of Orihuela-Alicante paid a Pastoral visit to the Orihuela Costa Parish, Cristo Resucitado (The Resurrection of Christ) last week, his first since the parish was established over six years ago.

He spent two days with Parish Priest Don Joaquin Carlos Carlos as he toured the diocese, acquainting himself with many of the community groups and activities.

The reasons for the visit were numerous. On Wednesday his first undertaking of the day was a meeting with the other religions that are residents of the centre, the German Evangelist Church, the Church of England, the Norwegian Evangelist Church as well as the pastor and representatives of the Romanian Orthodox Church.  He said how pleased he was that so many Christian churches were able to meet under one roof.

He then went on to meet representatives of the Cristo Resucitado Catholic Church, members of an extended parish committee, including the parish administrators, lay preachers, altar boys and girls, the church choir, the tutors preparing the children of the Orihuela Costa for their first holy communion and for confirmation, and local charity workers of course, predominantly from Caritas.

The Bishop said how important it was that ordinary parishioners were fully aware of the workings of these groups, how and when they could get in touch, particularly those requiring pastoral or charitable assistance. He said that the groups themselves should make their own especial efforts to reach out to such people, providing support and encouragement where it was necessary.

Bishop Murgui returned to the parish on Sunday, but on this occasion the purpose was much more informal. He was there to meet his parishioners, and to bless the magnificent Retablo that now adorns the wall behind the altar.

Painted and presented by Angel Gambín, the original architect of the Cristo Resucitado temple, who also produced the Stations of the Cross, the Retablo is a devotional painting that now occupies the entire back wall of the church, and it certainly makes a difference. What was once just a concrete shell has been completely transformed by the painting, bringing some much needed and overdue colour to the church.  The blessing was carried out during the Sunday Mass at which the Bishop also officiated.

Following mass, Bishop Murgui conducted a question and answer session with parishioners in the church which lasted about 30 minutes. He concluded his presentation by saying how delighted he was to have been able to meet so many parishioners. He said that in a community consisting of 97 different nationalities and 5 churches the role of parish priest was perhaps the most challenging in the diocese and Don Joaquin Carlos Carlos should be congratulated on the marvellous job he has done.  He said that he felt very privileged to be the Bishop of such an enterprising parish.


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