Jorge Fonseca

March 23, 2003|By Jason Song

Jorge Fonseca acknowledges he has too much to do.

"Sometimes, I wish I could just stay behind my pulpit," he said. Fonseca, a pastor at Iglesia Cristiana de Columbia, which meets in Oakland Mills, also is a chaplain at the Howard County Detention Center, is involved with Alianza, a local Latino educational group, and works closely with the Howard County Police Department.

"You can't only preach the Gospel behind the pulpit - sometimes you need to walk the walk," said Fonseca.

The 55-year-old was born in Puerto Rico but moved with his family to the Bronx as a boy. He returned to Puerto Rico as a teen, where he attended college and joined the U.S. Army.

Since retiring from the Army in 1990, Fonseca has worked in many areas, including Ecuador, before coming to Howard County about a year ago.Fonseca has worked with the Howard Police Department to improve relations with the Hispanic community, lobbied Democratic leaders to pay more attention to Hispanic issues such as identity cards for Mexican immigrants and been an advocate for more Hispanic businesses in the area.

Fonseca, who lives in Severn in Anne Arundel County - "I tried to find a place in Howard, but it's too expensive" - said he spends eight hours a day in Howard County, meeting with community leaders or counseling local Hispanics.

"I would like to spend more time with God, but the real world calls," Fonseca said.

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