About Our Lady of Altagracia
On Sunday, February 18, 1990, at 10 am, the people of the sector gathered to celebrate the Eucharist at the Malcom Ross Senior Center, known as "the area of the three towers." This mass was presided over by Fr. Oscar Castañeda, and it was a service that was offered for those who did not have a method of transportation. The members of the mother Church had begun that day a mission under the Marian invocation of Our Lady of Altagracia.
The mission members had a portable altar, a lectern, and a processional cross made by Jose Santilla. The now Monsignor Castañeda stated that "everything began with the Dominican community." Lunches were made, and many members of the community, including Monsignor Castañeda's parents, collaborated by donating the food, and others helped with the liturgy and the Altar since a Church had to be assembled and dismantled.
In this place, they promoted the devotion to the Virgin; confessions were heard in the corners of the property while others played dominoes in the same space. Claudia Ortega, one of the first religious vocations of the mission, says that "La Altagracia is a very united community to work in and in which the desire to serve that persists has stood out."
Monsignor Castañeda recalls that the devotion to the Virgin was greatly promoted, and there they celebrated the first feast of Our Lady of Altagracia on January 21. A Dominican presence always accompanied this mission. Thanks to the mission's primary task, which is evangelization, the Dominican community continued to grow. But, the priests were not entirely satisfied as they had a place that could only be used on Sundays.
The parish priest Jose Luis Menendez found a place not equipped for what they wanted and did not have parking. However, he says, "I went to the archdiocese to ask for a loan of $ 200,000, and they denied it immediately." The parish priest relates that at that moment, he was angry with God and the archdiocese for not understanding the pastoral need since they had already been in the Malcom Ross community center for a year and eight months.