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  1. The Elevation of Tex-Mex
    Mico Rodriguez
  2. The Bounty of the Barnett Shale
    Kelcy Warren
  3. The Entrepreneurial Woman
    Tomima Edmark
  4. The Growth of the Vietnamese Community
    Jennifer Nguyen
  5. The Founding of Uptown
    Phil Cobb
  6. The Changing Face of Politics
    Craig Watkins
  7. The Brain Gain
    Dr. Hao Zhu
  8. The Four Sport Town
    Mike Modano
  9. The Underground Culture
    Katherine Owens
  10. The Catholic Migration
    Father Ivan Asencio
  11. The Organized South Asian Community
    John Hammond
  12. The Next Way to Develop
    Jeff Blackard
  13. The Allure of the Silicon Prairie
    Anousheh Ansari
  14. The lighting of Reunion Tower
    George Schrader
  15. The New Old Tradition
    Jennifer Moreno
  16. The Test Kitchen
    Mariel Street
  17. The Art Magnet
    Kevin Moriarty
  18. The Glamorous Return of Dallas Shopping
    Brian Bolke
  19. The Strengthening of the Gay Community
    Jack Evans and George Harris
  20. The Resurgence of Downtown Dallas
    Art Ortiz
  21. The Megachurch Boom
    Ed Young
  22. The Fundraisers
    Lynn McBee
  23. The Refuge
    Pedro Amaya
  24. The Reason Dallas Took Off
    Ron Barzyk
  25. The Girl Who Stayed Home
    Erykah Badu
  26. The Preservation of Our Historic Buildings
    Virginia McAlester
  27. The Thriving Ethiopian Community
    Birhan Mekonnen
  28. The New Dallas ISD
    Jessica Leija
  29. The Rebirth of the Trinity River
    Peter Payton
  30. The Trains Start Running
    Ladrika Davis Gross
  31. The Architect of an Art Scene
    Stephen Lapthisophon
  32. The Calculator That Changed the World
    Vonnie Howard
  33. The Rise and Fall and Rise of Deep Ellum
    Frank Campagna
  34. The Big Move
    Kendra Norwood
  35. The Expanding Empire in Fort worth
    Scott Hernandez
  36. The Family Recipe
    Chuy Cruz
  37. The Transformation of Oak Cliff
    David Spence
  38. The Now-Legal Immigrant
    Jesus Castillo Carrizales
  39. The City of Philanthropists
    Lyda Hill
  40. The Transplants
    Tara Vornkahl
00 The Catholic Migration Wednesday, July 15, at 11:15am at St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco

Father Ivan Asencio

When he goes to bed at night, the young priest never has trouble sleeping. He says his prayers: for the church, for the community, for the people he’s spoken to that day. He turns his troubles over to God. And he rests with ease, knowing he is part of something bigger. It gives him a sense of purpose, and he feels peace. 

“Every night is like a thanksgiving,” he tells people, his soft, gentle voice revealing his Puerto Rican roots. 

There was a time when Father Ivan Asencio, 34, didn’t know where he belonged. He grew up wanting to be a scientist. He liked the idea of helping people with genetic disorders. In college, he decided to become an actor and dreamed of entertaining people with his own production company. Then he felt called to the cloth. When he thought about serving God, he felt peace.

He had offers to join a seminary in Puerto Rico, near his family. He had offers in other countries, and in other states. But when he thought about Dallas—a place he’d visited only once—he felt peace.

The area needed him. Between 1980 and 2010, North Texas added more than 600,000 Catholics—tripling the local Catholic population. And while many emigrated from Latin America, a lot of the influx came from the East Coast and the Midwest. Every time Collin County lands a new corporate headquarters, Father Asencio sees the flock at St. Francis of Assisi in Frisco grow. There are 10,000 families now, and a new $20 million church. He counsels and delivers Masses in both English and Spanish.

Some days he visits the sick and the dying. He administers sacraments. He sits with families. Some days he listens to problems. He stays positive and tries to restore hope. He wants to give people a sense of peace.

The young priest never has trouble sleeping. Because he knows he’s right where he’s supposed to be.