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Father Rafael Partida, Episcopal Vicar of the Riverside Pastoral Region, has been named the new Director of the Department of Ethnic Affairs, formerly the Department of Apostolic and Ethnic Affairs. He replaces Maria Echeverria in the position, who has led the department for the last 17 years.

The Department now oversees four ethnic offices: the Office of Hispanic Affairs, the Office of Asian Pacific Ministry, the Office of Catholics of African Descent and the Office of Native American Ministry. The apostolic groups in the diocese will liaison with the Department of Administrative Services.

Fr. Partida will continue to serve as Episcopal Vicar of the Riverside Pastoral Region. He has resigned as Pastor of St. Patrick, Moreno Valley, although he will continue to assist with Masses and some ministry as his schedule permits. Father Octavio Cortez Torres, IVE, who had been a Parochial Vicar at the parish, assumed responsibilities as Administrator on July 1, 2022.

“I have always enjoyed encountering other cultures and have appreciated their cultural experiences and unique cultural expressions of the Catholic Faith,” said Fr. Partida. “Thus, there is a joyful anticipation for my involvement in these ministries that the Office of Ethnic Affairs will provide for me.”