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History

The history of our Parish dates back to June 14, 1973, when Archbishop Coleman F. Carroll designated the foundation of a Parish to be named "Our Lady of the Divine Providence". In July of that year Rev. Neil McGrath was named founder and administrator of the Church.

Two years later, in June of 1975, Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio took over from Father McGrath. In December, 1976 the Parish conducted an election to choose Parish Council officers. By April, 1978 the Archdiocesan Building Commission approved final plans for the construction of the first buildings. In June of the same year, Archbishop McCarthy designated Rev. Garcia-Rubio as Pastor. With him, our community grew from a few faithful families to over two thousand. The first building of Our Lady of the Divine Providence Catholic Church was dedicated on December 16, 1979.

As a result of the need generated by the exodus of the Mariel boat lift in 1980, ministries emerged to address the needs of the newly arrived, such as psychological counseling, employment referral, shelter for the refugees at the Parish for over four months, assistance and English classes.

In 1981, construction of the Parochial School was started and Sister Maria Cartaya became the school’s first Principal. By the end of 1986, enrollment exceeded 200 students attending from pre-kinder through third grade. Every year thereafter brought another school grade, until by 1991 pre-kinder through eigth grade were available.

On April 25, 1988, Rev. Francisco Santana was named temporary administrator and on October 10, 1988 he was named administrator.

Taping of the Mass for the Sick and Shut-ins, celebrated by Fr. Santana, was done at our church, which a local Hispanic television channel would broadcast on Sundays.

Ever so sensitive to the social plight of the different exiled groups of our community, Fr. Santana promoted a deepening of intercessory prayer by having several events such as the downing of a Jericho Wall for the cause of Cuban freedom and campaigns for the resolution of Our Lady of the Divine Providence Catholic Church Nicaraguan people's immigration status.

Rev. Oscar Brantome, born in Nicaragua, was named administrator on February 24, 1992 and was installed as Pastor on September 6, 1992. Our community continued to grow as was evidenced by the large turnout at Sunday Masses and the resulting shortage of parking spaces. Plans were drawn for the construction and expansion of our premises with the pertinent application for government permits.

Father Brantome established a fund raising committee and expanded the Parish Council. By August 1995 a cafeteria, gazebo and the St. Raphael Parish Hall were built. He pressed on with campaigns for the naturalization of Nicaraguan and Salvadorean residents, which led to the establishment of the Nacara Law.

With great evangelical zeal, Father Brantome led several Parish Missions and retreats for the neighboring youth. During Lent, catechists held Para-Liturgies for infants while their parents attended Sunday Mass and "Life in the Spirit Seminars" were held regularly.

Father Brantome felt a special burden for an increase in prayer for vocations. As a result, this parish has given the local Church of the Archdiocese of Miami three priests: Father Pedro Corces, Father Marcos Somarriba, and Father Elvis González.

Rev. Luis Ramon Rivera was named Parish administrator on June 14, 1996 and was installed as a Pastor on November 17, 1996. Fr. Rivera revived the old with a renovation and restoration project that paid homage to the integrity of a new church building. The new church was dedicated on November 19, 2004. He also provided additional ministries and services sensitive to the different cultures of Our Lady of the Divine Providence Catholic Church parishioners.

On February 17, 2010, Rev. Manuel Alejandro Soler, was named administrator and was installed as a pastor on April 18, 2010. Father Soler, who is well known for his ministry on Radio Paz, began offering the Emmaus Retreats for both men and women which have brought many people back home to the church.

On November 5, 2012, Rev. Manuel Francisco Alvarez was appointed administrator by Archbishop Thomas Wenski; a historic act since Father Alvarez was a parishioner here when he was a child and made his First Communion in this church. Father Alvarez is assisted by Father Fermín Roberto Solana who has served as parochial vicar since 1996 and has the distinction of being the longest serving priest in the history of the parish. Under the leadership of Father Alvarez and Father Solana, the parish dedicated itself to following the promptings of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis for the Year of Faith by offering retreats, nights of worship, a series of talks on the faith, and a renewed emphasis on Eucharistic Adoration and the celebration of the Mass as the source and summit of all parish life

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On July 1, 2014, Rev. Enrique Estrada became the 8th pastor of Our Lady of Divine Providence Parish.