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Hispanic Catholics deserve more from their church: Hispanic Catholics will soon be the majority in the U.S. church but they are still often relegated to the basement. It's time to bring Hispanic ministry upstairs, one priest argues.


WHAT WOULD HAPPEN IN BOSTON OR CHICAGO if the papal nuncio Noun 1. papal nuncio - (Roman Catholic Church) a diplomatic representative of the Pope having ambassadorial status

Church of Rome, Roman Catholic Church, Roman Church, Western Church, Roman Catholic - the Christian Church based in the Vatican and
 forbade for·bade  
A past tense of forbid.

forbade or forbad

the past tense of forbid

forbade forbid
 corned beef on St. Patrick's St. Patrick's or Saint Patrick's may refer to:
  • Saint Patrick's Day, named after the saint
  • St. Patrick's Purgatory, an ancient pilgrimage in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland
 Day because it falls on a Friday during Lent? Or laughed at Our Lady of Czestochowa because no one could prove that St. Luke painted her? He'd probably be run out on a raft by Irish and Polish Catholics!

Yet the same people who wink at St. Patrick during Lent wince at Our Lady of Guadalupe
For the Spanish icon, see Our Lady of Guadalupe (Extremadura).

Our Lady of Guadalupe, also called the Virgin of Guadalupe (Spanish: Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe or Virgen de Guadalupe) is a 16th century Roman Catholic Mexican icon depicting
 during Advent. Our Lady of Czestochowa causes no scholarly stir, but Juan Diego For the actor, see .
Saint Juan Diego (1474 – May 30, 1548) was an indigenous Mexican who reported an apparition of the Virgin Mary as Our Lady of Guadalupe in 1531. He had a significant impact on the spread of the Catholic faith within Mexico.
 is pursued for being "undocumented" not by immigration authorities immigration authorities nplservicio sg de inmigración

immigration authorities nplservice m de l'immigration

 but academic ones. Such culturally prejudiced behavior frequently occurs in the U.S. Catholic Church when assumptions remain unexamined. How often have we heard people say that English is the only official language of this country and therefore of our church, or that attention to culture divides rather than unites Catholics?


Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs into a new office charged with "cultural diversity," the culmination of a process that has been creeping across the country. As Hispanic numbers have increased, Hispanic Catholic ministry on regional and diocesan levels has actually decreased.

Think of a typical chancery. It boasts offices for worship, youth, family, and so on. Each has a mission statement claiming to serve the diocese in those ministries. In effect, however, they serve only white English speakers. Hence, while dozens of employees serve white non-Hispanics through many offices, a single office of "cultural diversity" with one or two employees must serve the entire other 40 to 50 percent of the diocese across all those ministries. Thus Hispanic parishes, which are usually poorer and most in need of diocesan resources, are virtually abandoned by their chancery.

These continuing church The term, Continuing Church, has been used by splinter groups of a number of denominations following schisms caused by major doctrinal disagreements. The use of the term is meant to suggest that no new doctrines were being promoted by the dissenters, but rather that the historic  trends imply that there are "normal" Catholics and then there are others. As a Puerto Rican Puer·to Ri·co  
Abbr. PR or P.R.
A self-governing island commonwealth of the United States in the Caribbean Sea east of Hispaniola.
 friend recently responded to the phrase "people of color Noun 1. people of color - a race with skin pigmentation different from the white race (especially Blacks)
people of colour, colour, color

race - people who are believed to belong to the same genetic stock; "some biologists doubt that there are important
": "When did white stop being a color?"

This kind of imposition of ministry adequate to one group upon other groups is a form of ecclesial Ec`cle´si`al

a. 1. Ecclesiastical.
 conquest. It occurs whenever a group acts as if its particular language and culture is or should be universal and normative for everyone. This uncritical approach is reinforced by the resulting disproportionate use of resources.

We grasp intuitively that ministry cannot be generic or universal, which is why we have separate chaplaincies for hospitals, prisons, and the military. Yet since the demise of national parishes, we seem stymied in applying this same intuition that ministry must be particular to the increasingly culturally distinct environment of our church.

A RECENT REPORT FROM THE PEW HISPANIC CENTER CAPtures the presence of a significant and, to some, surprising "indigenous success" in Hispanic ministry: More than half of Hispanic Catholics are charismatic. They are committed to the church and its traditional teachings but also emphasize a personal relationship with God and embrace ethnic-oriented worship. Hispanics are not passive recipients of charismatic Catholicism; rather, they have profitably made it their own. For instance, Hispanic family and community cultural values balance some charismatics' tendencies toward sectarianism.

Hispanic charismatics have been successful because they apply proven strategies native to their culture to ministry. Success generates new resources from within the culture as well. I see eight tactics common to both Hispanic charismatic and popular Catholicism that are successful precisely because they are rooted in Hispanic culture Hispanic culture is a term used to identify the culture found in Spain and in the countries that were part of the Spanish Empire, including Mexico, Peru and other countries that were formerly part of New Spain and the Viceroyalty of Peru. . They provide ideas that could and should be systematically applied throughout dioceses. These are:

* Promote lay leadership: Hispanic Catholics have never had sufficient clergy, and educational as well as financial obstacles still inhibit those vocations. Yet Hispanics have always had religious leaders, particularly women. Dioceses need to identify, recruit, coordinate, support, and form lay leaders, especially in scripture.

* Evoke emotion: To evoke is not to manipulate. Charismatics embrace a faith that is holistic rather than exclusively rational. Hispanic worship is more than just Spanish; it is an idiom that appeals to the heart as well as the head.

* Accept the practical: People petition God for what they need and ask others to intercede. Whether through the charismatic laying on of hands Noun 1. laying on of hands - the application of a faith healer's hands to the patient's body
faith cure, faith healing - care provided through prayer and faith in God

 or traditional novenas, people believe God cares about them personally. Worship accepts this, and so, too, does a holistic ministry that addresses social justice issues such as education, immigration immigration, entrance of a person (an alien) into a new country for the purpose of establishing permanent residence. Motives for immigration, like those for migration generally, are often economic, although religious or political factors may be very important. , employment, and health care.

* Evangelize e·van·gel·ize  
v. e·van·gel·ized, e·van·gel·iz·ing, e·van·gel·iz·es
1. To preach the gospel to.

2. To convert to Christianity.

To preach the gospel.
 through testimony: Hispanics leave notes and photographs to saints. They follow the same formula when they testify to their life before Christ before Christ
adv. Abbr. B.C. or b.c.
In a specified year of the pre-Christian era.

Adv. 1.
 and compare it to their new life with him. Love must express itself; it compels missionaries. The church should channel this natural desire beyond prayer groups to evangelize neighborhoods, workplaces, the Internet, and elsewhere.

* Build small Christian communities: Whether through confraternities, prayer groups, 12-step groups, or storefront churches Storefronts were the building that many African American Christians used to hold their worship services in the early years of the African American Christian experience in post-slavery America. , people seek mutual aid, support, and mentoring in an increasingly anonymous and individualistic society. Hispanics respond enthusiastically to small Christian communities, which are integral to any pastoral strategy. Many dioceses react to priest shortages This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject.
Please help recruit one or [ improve this article] yourself. See the talk page for details.
 only with ever-larger assemblies, but it takes a personal experience of the Body of Christ
This article is about the religious concept. For article about the sect, see The Body of Christ.

The Body of Christ is a term used by Christians to describe believers in Christ. Jesus Christ is seen as the "head" of the body, which is the church.
 to fully enter into the Eucharist.

* Mentor family-friendly men: Male spirituality based on responsibility, fidelity, bravery, work, and family must be mentored through example and fraternity. Men express their particular and complementary role in family, society, and church through groups such as adoracion nocturna (adoration adoration,
n a prayer of worship and praise.
 of the Blessed Sacrament Blessed Sacrament
n. Roman Catholic Church
The consecrated host.
 through the night) and now must be supported in similar efforts as true servants.

* Include youth and young adults: Young people should be included in Hispanic ministry, reflecting their overwhelming presence. The church needs to encourage their education and celebrate their achievements. Invite them to use technology, drama, art, and music in ministry. With proper supervision, even children can greet and hand out hymnals at Mass. There are always ways to include youth in ministry, and they will always provide creative suggestions of how to do so. Listen!

* Nurture stewardship: Most Catholic schools and universities do not invest sufficient resources in Hispanics. Too often Hispanics feel like renters, not co-owners of these groups, and renters do not invest in institutions owned by others. Charismatics and Hispanic apostolic ap·os·tol·ic   ap·os·tol·i·cal
1. Of or relating to an apostle.

a. Of, relating to, or contemporary with the 12 Apostles.

 movements and religious rituals never lack resources because Hispanics feel ownership. They may not invest individually or through envelopes; they may contribute more through group activities such as fiestas. But Hispanics support religious institutions that support them.

I DO NOT SUGGEST THESE EIGHT TACTICS because they have empirical support or even because my experience proves their helpfulness (although both are true). Rather I believe they are helpful because they are indigenous.

White, non-Hispanic Catholics such as I must recall that we did not bring the faith to our country; Spanish speakers did. Soon we will no longer be the majority in the church. Both history and demography demography (dĭmŏg`rəfē), science of human population. Demography represents a fundamental approach to the understanding of human society.  indicate that we are just one group among others and therefore must not uncritically promote our own cultural ministry to Hispanics. Rather we need to encourage an indigenous ministry from within Hispanic cultures themselves. Those efforts will require a redistribution of resources commensurate with the various members of the many-cultured U.S. church.

Hispanic charismatics are one example of a successful, native adaptation of Hispanic Catholics' own popular or indigenous Catholicism. Applying these eight tactics, shared by Hispanic charismatic and popular Catholicism, would be a much better alternative to the unconscious ecclesial conquest that to this day is still too often (albeit at times unintentionally) imposed.

58% of survey respondents believe the new cultural diversity office is a disservice dis·ser·vice  
A harmful action; an injury.


a harmful action

Noun 1.
 to Hispanics and the larger church.


1. I agree with the author that the successes of charismatic groups and traditional popular Catholicism provide important lessons for the future of Hispanic ministry.
   Agree   74%
Disagree   14%
   Other   12%

2. I think the church overall is:
7% Doing an excellent job
with Hispanic ministry.

16% Doing a good job but
could still do more.

27% Doing a fair job and needs

18% Doing a poor job with
Hispanic ministry.

11% Has no idea what Hispanic
ministry even means.

13% don't know.

8% Other.

3. The needs of Hispanic Catholics can be met by simply having more priests who speak Spanish and parishes that celebrate at least one Sunday Mass in Spanish.
   Agree   21%
Disagree   57%
   Other   22%

4. Attention to and accommodation of different cultures and languages in the church is divisive.
   Agree   20%
Disagree   65%
   Other   15%


5. Collapsing the Hispanic ministry office into the "cultural diversity" office is a disservice both to Hispanic Catholics and to the larger church.
   Agree   58%
Disagree   28%
   Other   14%

6. It is in everyone's best interest that the church comes to grips with the fact that Hispanics will soon constitute the majority in the U.S. Catholic Church and ministers to them well.
   Agree   70%
Disagree   17%
   Other   13%

7. The church is doing no less for Hispanics than it has done for other immigrant groups.
   Agree   32%
Disagree   41%
   Other   27%

Representatives of "other": "This no doubt varies from one parish and priest to others." "We are in different time frames."

Results are based on survey responses from 139 U.S. CATHOLIC readers, website visitors, and people involved in Hispanic ministry. The majority of respondents were not Hispanic. Advance copies of Sounding Board are mailed to a sample of U.S. CATHOLIC subscribers. A representative selection of their comments follow in Feedback.

By FATHER KENNETH G. DAVIS Davis, city (1990 pop. 46,209), Yolo co., central Calif.; settled in the 1850s, inc. 1917. It is an education center with light industry; machinery, processed foods, and computer equipment are produced. The extensive Univ. , O.F.M. CONV CONV Conversation
CONV Conversion
CONV Convention
CONV Converter
CONV Convertible
conv Conveyor
CONV Convocation
CONV Convalescent
., director of formation for Hispanic ministry and associate professor of pastoral studies at St. Meinrad School of Theology in Indiana (
COPYRIGHT 2008 Claretian Publications
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Title Annotation:sounding board
Author:Davis, Kenneth G
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Date:Feb 1, 2008
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