The dream of Corpus Christi’s long-time pastor, Father José Luis Menéndez, the first building of La Merced is created in the spirit of an old Peruvian church. It is intended, in Father’s words, “to give back something to the United States for what it has given us. It accepts us and gives us a chance to build a new life. We in turn give the gift of our culture.” It is also a gift to South Florida and to the people of the transitional neighborhoods. “Just because many of our neighbors cannot donate the dollars needed for such a project as this does not mean that they do not deserve to live with art and culture, that their children should not benefit from a community reflecting the culture and history of so many of its people – or that persons from outside this neighborhood should not be welcome to visit us, and to learn about this history and how all of us can appreciate it together as one diverse but united community.”
Construction of La Merced was begun in 2005. It has continued as resources have become available. As construction has continued, and donors of time, talent and treasure have come forward, Father Menéndez has increased the quality and detail of construction, and the size and quality of the collections.