Here are the newest members of our province, the brothers working in Puerto Rico. Fr. José Santiago, OP and our new brother, Fr. Yamil Samalot Rivera, OP gathered the photos and sketches presented here.
fr. Luis M. Espinel Araúzo, OP
I am fr. Luis M. Espinel Araúzo, OP, but everyone knows me as “Marcos”. That was my “false name” to enter the Dominican Missions in Mexico during the years of the official anticlerical government when clergy were not allowed to enter the country. I am 82 years old, born in Madrid, Spain, and belong to the Province of Hispania. Since my arrival in Puerto Rico more than thirty years ago, I have been involved in Campus Ministry and as a professor at Bayamon Central University. I served for ten years as Vicar General of the Dominicans in Puerto Rico. I currently serve as pastor of our oldest parish in Puerto Rico, the Invention of the Holy Cross (est. 1774) run by Dominicans since 1904. Before the pandemic I was also ministering to the students of one of our schools.
I can say that my desire is for the Province to assume the reality of our communities and the apostolic work of Puerto Rico, especially our University
fr. Yamil A. Samalot Rivera, OP
Hello to all my new brothers! This is fr. Yamil A. Samalot Rivera, OP from Isabela, the northwest coast of Puerto Rico. Until the year I was born (1971), there were Dominican Friars in my hometown, whereas Dominican Sisters of Amityville are still there. Almost since my Solemn Vows, I have been teaching Dogmatic Theology as well as dealing with Academic Administration. During the last four years, I have had a blessed return to teaching in my original field of study and research: Portuguese and Brazilian Studies, as well as, the relationship between Theology and Postmodern Culture. I had the opportunity to share with the Dominican Friars in Providence, Rhode Island as I did graduate studies at Brown University. For two terms I served as General Secretary of CIDALC. Currently, I am Assistant Professor of Theology and Humanities at the University of the Sacred Heart (est. 1880), as I help with celebrations in two of our parishes.
To the Province, “I am thrilled about the idea of having more brothers here in the Island to strengthen our Dominican life and mission.” Some day, I hope to be able to engage in Latino/a ministry in the US.
fr. Mario A. Rodríguez León, OP
My name is fr. Mario A. Rodríguez León, OP. I was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico. I am 69 years old. All my life I have been doing research and teaching History of the Church in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean. I served as General Vicar of Puerto Rico for many years, being the first Puerto-Rican born leading the mission in the Island still under the Dutch Province. Nowadays, I teach part-time, direct doctoral dissertations on History of the Church, and I am chaplain of a community of Dominican inspiration, called Sisters of Jesus Mediator.
fr. Roberto Arzola Maysonet, OP
My name is fr. Roberto Arzola Maysonet, OP. I am 74 years old and I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. As a Dominican, I have mainly worked in the parish ministry being pastor of several of our parishes. During my initial formation years, I did studies in Massachusetts with the Province of St. Joseph. I also have chaplained the Holy Name Society for several years. I am currently helping with celebrations at our conventual church that is open to laity.
I hope to keep working “in the vineyard of the Lord” according to my possibilities and in fraternal communion with my brothers here and in the entire Province. Most of all, I hope all we accomplish can be in an environment in which fraternal charity will predominate, as St. Dominic himself practiced it.
fr. Juan Burgos Acevedo, OP
I am fr. Juan Burgos Acevedo, OP, native of Manatí, Puerto Rico where the Monastery of our Dominican Nuns is located. I am 63 years old. Since my priestly ordination, I have served in parish ministry as Pastor in several of our parishes. I am presently pastor of both, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and St. Dominic of Guzmán Parish’s which is close to our priory. I love gardening and learning about European politics.
fr. Antonio González González, OP
My name is fr. Antonio González González, OP but almost everybody knows me as “Pola” which is the second family name of my mother. I am 83 years old from Asturias, Spain. I professed and was ordained as a Dominican originally in the missionary Province of the Most Blessed Rosary. Since I arrived in Puerto Rico back in 1976, I have devoted myself to University teaching of Philosophy and outreach publishing.
Within the Province, I hope to keep my Dominican cathechetical and outreach ministry in Puerto Rico as I take advantage of my retirement time to organize my publications and lecture notes.
fr. Rafael González Padró, OP
I am fr. Rafael González Padró, OP. I was born in Río Piedras, Puerto Rico and I am 53 years old. Most of the time I have been doing administrative and financial work for our schools and parishes in the Island as well as parochial ministry. Since, I studied Childhood and Adolescent Psychology at Roosevelt University in Chicago, I prefer to devote myself to people and community service. I am currently the pastor of the Most Holy Rosary Parish in Yauco, in the southern-western/rural coast of the Island as well as Chair of the Council of Founders of our University in Puerto Rico.
I want to deeply thank the Province for assuming our mission in Puerto Rico, as I look forward to meeting you and creating community with you, and preach from this experience.
fr. Oscar Morales Cruz, OP
My name is fr. Oscar Morales Cruz, OP from Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. I am 61 years old. I have been doing parish ministry since my ordination. I have also devoted myself to doing chaplaincy ministry at our elementary and secondary schools. When we have had initial formation in Puerto Rico I have served as both master of postulants and Student Master. Im currently serve as vicar of the Most Holy Rosary Parish and do chaplaincy at our parochial school in Yauco. I am also a member of the Council of Founders of the Bayamon Central University.
With a lot hope and enthusiasm, I am very willing to itinerantly preach in mutual collaboration and communication with our Province following the example of St. Dominic.
fr. Silvestre Gómez Rueda, OP
I am fr. Silvestre Gómez Rueda, OP. I was born in Puti, Bolivia 51 years ago. I know the Province of St. Albert the Great from before since I did all my initial formation and studies in Cochabamba in its former Vicariate. In 1995 I arrived in Puerto Rico to continue my Studendate and stayed here since then. As a Dominican, I have devoted all my time to parochial ministry serving as Pastor and accompanying lay apostolic groups, in a Retreat Center we have. Currently, I am vicar of Most Holy Rosary Parish in Yauco, Puerto Rico.
I am truly grateful to the Province for having welcomed us. We are all here to move forward the Dominican mission we have in Puerto Rico.
fr. Carlos Alberto Rodríguez Villanueva, OP
I am fr. Carlos Alberto Rodríguez Villanueva, OP, 62 years old, from Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. I define myself as an apprentice of St. Dominic. Even before joining the Order of Preachers, I have been university professor of History, working in academic administration. In my doctoral studies, I have devoted my research and publications to the History of the Church and Religion in Puerto Rico. Nowadays, I am part of the Department of Theology and Philosophy, and the Graduate School of Theology of the Pontifical University of Puerto Rico, Ponce Campus. I teach seminarians at different diocesan seminaries in the Island. I like to collaborate with a diocesan Radio program about topics around the History of our Church. As a cooperator brother I serve in parochial administration to collaborate with the reconstruction efforts of our churches and house after the January 2020 earthquakes in the southern-western coast of the Island.
With joy and hope I embrace my brethren of the Province of St. Albert the Great, prostrating myself to ask what I have already petitioned and received from the Order of Preachers: God’s mercy and yours, my brothers.