Fr. Pedro Arteaga
Fr. Pedro Arteaga
ROY — The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit, a community of priests and brothers who minister at western Oregon parishes and Mount Angel Seminary, have elected new leaders for their U.S. province. The new captains, chosen July 28, will be familiar to Oregon Catholics.

New provincial superior is Father Pedro Arteaga, who has served at the seminary and St. Matthew Parish in Hillsboro. Fluent in five languages, Father Arteaga was the sixth of seven children born to a father from Texas and a mother from Germany.

“Because I like to talk I learned all those languages,” he said with a laugh.

Father Arteaga, 57, joined the missionaries in 1985 and was ordained in 1997. He holds advanced education in theology and ministry, including a degree from the Antonianum in Rome and a doctorate from Mount Angel Seminary. He has been serving in Oregon since 2006 where he was pastor of St. Matthew and most recently was a seminary professor and director of pastoral formation.

Father Arteaga said his main concern will be the wellbeing of his fellow missionaries. There are more than 30 in the United States, mostly in Oregon with others in Washington and California. He said he will work to bring a pastoral and multi-cultural approach to the task of being provincial. Most missionaries are at least bilingual. There are 10 men in formation.

With origins in Mexico, the earliest Missionaries of the Holy Spirit in the US served workers in the Bracero program, which brought Mexican labor to U.S. fields during and after World War II.

Father Arteaga sees a new approach to ministry coming in which the missionaries collaborate more with lay people. At the same time, he’d like to extend the community’s calling to serve the needs of priests and religious, offering retreat space and spiritual direction. The need is significant now, Father Arteaga said.

Father Arteaga is liaison between the Archdiocese of Portland and the Spanish language charismatic renewal movement. He said Hispanic Catholics today still face challenges because of cultural differences and can at times be targeted by proselytizers from non-Catholic religious groups.

His term of office is six years with the possibility of renewal.

Father Alex Rubio, 42, was elected provincial vicar, second in line. A native of El Paso, Texas, he is one of three children.

He earned a bachelor's degree in computer engineering from the University of Washington in 2002, entered the Missionaries in 2004 and was ordained in 2015.

He holds a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling from Portland State University.

Before his election, Father Rubio was rector at the house of studies in Mount Angel and a spiritual director and counselor at the seminary. He is a former parochial vicar at St. Matthew in Hillsboro.

Father Juan Gonzalez, 50, was elected second counselor. He will support the work of the other leaders and advise on important matters.

A native of Guadalajara, Mexico, he entered the Missionaries in 1989 and was ordained in 2000.

He holds degrees from the Instituto de Filosofía and the Pontifical Salesian University. He received a master’s degree in gestalt psychotherapy.

Before his election, Father Gonzalez was provincial treasurer for 11 years, and before that served as pastor of St. Matthew Parish for seven years. His first ministry in the United States was as spiritual director at Mount Angel Seminary.

The headquarters of the missionaries’ U.S. province is the former rectory at St. Francis Parish in Roy, a small rural settlement in Washington County.