Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski has ties to Haitian Community

The new Archbishop of Miami, Thomas Wenski, is an advocate for Haitian issue and has worked in Little Haiti for many years.

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Archbishop Thomas Wenski was assigned to the Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in Little Haiti, where he served as associate director and then director.

Under his leadership, Pierre Toussaint Haitian Catholic Center in Little Haiti Thomas Wenski provided social educational and legal services to newly arrived Haitian immigrants in addition to the traditional pastoral ministries.

Wenski will succeed Archbishop John C. Favalora, who had led South Florida's 800,000-plus Catholics for 16 years.

New Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, who spoke to reporters in Spanish and Haitian Creole in addition to English, said he was "humbled by the Holy Father's confidence in me'' and joked that he has "big shoes to fill now. . . . I am told Miami has its challenges, but what else is new?"

Wenski spoke at length about the church being "committed to being present among the poor'' despite the closure of more than a dozen inner-city parishes and Catholic schools over the past year in South Florida. He also spoke strongly of his advocacy on behalf of undocumented immigrants, and about recent allegations against the Catholic Church locally and worldwide, insisting that the church is the "safest place for children today."

In July 2003, Thomas Wenski, 59, was appointed coadjutor to Orlando Bishop Norbert Dorsey. He took over the Orlando diocese in November 2004.

Wenski was born in West Palm Beach to a Polish immigrant father and a Polish-American mother and grew up in Lake Worth and attended Catholic school at his home parish, Sacred Heart. Thomas Wenski studied at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary in Miami-Dade and then at St. Vincent de Paul Major Seminary in Boynton Beach. After his ordination in 1976, he served as associate pastor of the mainly Hispanic parish of Corpus Christi in Miami.

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