A priest from Our Lady of the Assumption Church was forced to apologize for a tasteless joke he made at a recent mass about new parishioners from Don Matias, Colombia.
During the mass in question Fr. Urubiel Moreno was telling the story of how he had taken part in the sacrament of confirmation of a father and son from Don Matias. Fr. Moreno, who is of Panamanian descent, commented along the lines that you can always tell someone from Don Matias because they have the ‘face of a drug dealer’.
The comment received immediate backlash from parishioners, Eastie’s elected officials, the Archdiocese and the mayor of Don Matias, Marcela Pena Correa, who sent a letter to the Archdiocese condemning the crude joke.
“Don Matias is characterized by the dedication and tenacity of its people,” said Mayor Correa. “It is a people rooted in the Catholic faith, with families united by love and followers of the Church’s practices, a people with anguish and above all with an enterprising, respectful, hard-working and honest gene that have strengthened the Catholic faith in Boston and the world.”
Correa went on to say as Mayor of Don Matias he was insulted by the comments of Fr. Moreno and called on the church and the community to value and respect those from his city because they have contributed greatly to the economy and fabric of Eastie.
Many Colombian parishioners said they were sick of Colombia being linked with drugs because the beautiful country is full of hard-working people who have come to Eastie and are now pillars in our communities.
“I’ve heard from members of our community about remarks made by a priest during mass at Our Lady of the Assumption Church that were disparaging toward Colombian residents of East Boston,” said Rep. Madaro. “I am appalled at the nature of these comments, and disappointed in their use by a leader of faith. I have a deep appreciation for constituents of all backgrounds and identities. This diversity is a great and defining characteristic of East Boston, and all residents should know that they are represented equally by my office and should feel safe and welcome contacting me for assistance and support.”
The Archdiocese in a statement called Fr. Moreno’s comments ‘regrettable’ and caused pain and hurt for the community.
“The archdiocese has addressed this as soon as we became informed. Fr. Urubiel Moreno has been contrite realizing his comments were wrong,” said the statement. “He has apologized at the parish and plans to apologize at Mass. We appreciate Fr. Urubiel Moreno’s willingness to make amends and seek the forgiveness of the community. “
Parishioners confirmed Fr. Moreno apologized for the comments he made at mass this past Sunday.