Remembering Diego Correa
Diego Correa, a Catholic musician, composer and vocalist who recently had the opportunity to share and offer his talents during the Papal Visit by leading the Hispanic Papal Choir and singing as a solo vocalist for the sacred liturgy service at the 2015 World Meeting of Families Closing Mass on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, died Oct. 23, 2015.
Born, April 21, 1964 in Salinas, Puerto Rico; son of Diego Correa Luyando and Maria Alvarado, Diego dedicated his life to being a Catholic musician,. Since 1980, he served the Catholic Church through his liturgical music — participating in liturgical events nationally and at the diocesan and archdiocesan level.
He began his service at a very young age, in his beloved town of Salinas, Puerto Rico, by playing the guitar in the youth group, Juventud Acción Católica. Upon his arrival in the United States mainland, he served as a pastoral musician at Santa Veronica Church. Diego was the music director of several parish communities, most recently he was music director at Divine Mercy Parish in Vineland, N.J. He also helped coordinate and assisted with the musical direction of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Hispanic Choir. Diego and his wife, Damaris Thillet, served for many years as pastoral musicians for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Diocese of Camden. He was a founding member of the Association of Pastoral Musicians of the East and a member of the National Institute of Hispanic Liturgy.
Diego was an instructor at the Archdiocese of Philadelphia's Catholic Institute for Evangelization music education program, as well as a private tutor and presenter of local, national and Latin Caribbean pastoral music workshops. Through his tutelage, scores of students were influenced by his passion, service, and dedication.
As a Catholic composer and recording artist for Oregon Catholic Press and World Library Publications, he delighted his listeners with Spanish-language musical collections such as: Canten a Dios al Ritmo de Nuestra Cultura; Él Vive Él Reina; Eso Me Basta Señor; Del Pesebre a la Cruz; and Tú Nos Das Poder Junto a la Coral Hispana de Filadelfia. Inspired by the Scriptures, his songs accentuated a unique musical style based on traditional Puerto Rican rhythms. A talented artist, one of his hobbies was painting art onto recycled musical instruments, such as old guitars.
Diego and Damaris were recently recognized with the Prominent Hispanic Award, awarded by the Camden County Freeholder Board’s Office of Hispanic Affairs.
He was known in the community for the service, love, peace and inspiration he transmitted to others. Diego’s apostolate was family and service to the Church; his wife and children were his reason to live. He is survived by his father; mother; stepmother; wife, Damaris; his two children, Yomaris and Joel Correa Thillet; seven siblings: Luis Correa Alvarado, Nydia Aguirre, Lizandra Correa Alvarado, Leonardo Correa Ortiz, Beatriz Dunning, Mariela González, Arnaldo González; and his uncles, aunts, cousins, nephews, nieces, and a large extended family.
A viewing and Mass was held October 29 at Divine Mercy Church in Vineland, N.J. On Sunday, November 1, a viewing will take place at Funeraria San Blas, in Salinas, Puerto Rico, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., followed by burial at the Salinas Municipal Cemetery.