Father Edward Benitez was ordained in Santiago, Chile, Oct. 22, 1966 as a priest of the Salesian Order. His priestly ministry began in South America where he served two years as a school principal in the port city of Puerto Natales in southern Chile and as provincial secretary in the capital city of Santiago. He came to the Diocese of Orlando in 1985 and was incardinated in December of 1990 and is currently retired.
Fluent in English, Spanish, and Italian, Father Benitez was very active in outreach to the Hispanic community. From 1985 through 1992 he served as associate pastor at parishes around the diocese, including: St. Paul Parish in Daytona Beach, Holy Redeemer Parish in Kissimmee, Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Melbourne, Our Lady of the Lakes Parish in Deltona, and Good Shepherd, St. Joseph, Blessed Trinity, and St. Isaac Jogues parishes in Orlando.
While serving at Holy Redeemer Parish in 1985, Father Benitez recognized a need for ministry to the Hispanic community in Poinciana and initiated the celebration of a local Mass in Spanish prior to the opening of St. Rose of Lima Parish that would later serve this area. He always felt a special closeness to the Hispanic people in the Diocese of Orlando.
“I enjoy working with the Spanish speaking people,” remarked Father Benitez. “I think I can be a help along this line.”