Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nashvillian of the Year -- Father Joe Pat Breen

Singlehandedly during an economic downturn, the Rev. Joe Pat Breen raised $2 million to open and maintain a church dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe on Nolensville Road.

He pulled of this miracle while still shepherding nearby St. Edward Catholic Church. He could not speak but a few words of Spanish, but he was dedicated to the Hispanic people in Tennessee as if he were an anchor on Univision.

In a concluding feat earlier this month, he beat the bishop of the diocese to a donation of $221,000 to pay off the final debt on the church, which now belongs to the Hispanic people and Our Lady's pastor, Father Fernando Garcia, and its administrator, John Martinez.

Despite no media coverage, that miracle earlier this month was most newsworthy. Somewhere and some time, the supposed mainstream media decided readers and viewers no longer wanted to read and see stories of hope amid a troubled world. Thank God literally for the Internet.

The church already is the largest by congregants in the state of Tennessee. There is nothing else like it in the South, where feelings are hard toward Hispanics.

Most of all, the church belongs to Our Lady and her power and the people she appeared to north of Mexico almost five centuries ago.

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