Monterey priest to receive Lumen Christi award

Fr. Enrique Herrera. Photo courtesy of the Catholic Extension Society

Father Enrique Herrera, a priest of the Diocese of Monterey and pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Greenfield, Calif. will received the Catholic Extension Society’s 40th anniversary Lumen Christi Award. He will receive the award at a Mass at his parish on Dec. 10.

In announcing the award, Father Jack Wall, president of Catholic Extension, said, “The Lumen Christi Award shines brightly to honor and give recognition to people who are great missionaries in our country. Father Herrera is a great example. He has stood up as a shepherd for his flock and raised them up. He is a ‘voice for the voiceless,’ but he is also helping people to find their own voice, helping them to aspire and to dream. He is a true missionary.”

According to the National Catholic Reporter (Sept. 13, 2017), since arriving at Holy Trinity in the Salinas Valley, Father Herrera saw that parishioners were struggling to feed their families and had few opportunities for a brighter future, he decided that his parish would become a beacon of hope.

Together with his parishioners, he started new programs focused on strengthening faith, education and community.

“Hearts were opened. Individuals started changing. Families started changing. Neighborhoods started changing. Classrooms started changing. The Police Department, Fire Department, school officials, City Council and mayor all got on board.”

A city of 16,000, Greenfield is in the heart of the Salinas Valley. It is comprised mainly of immigrants who come to harvest lettuce, broccoli, grapes and strawberries. Half of the city’s population is under age 21. The average income there is almost 40 percent below the national poverty level.

Fr. Herrera is a member of the Monterey Presbyteral Council.

For the Catholic Extension Society posting on the Lumen Christi Award, click here.

For the NCR report, click here.