Hispanics and a changing church.
Most of the 54 participants in the Refocusing Noun 1. refocusing - focusing again
focalisation, focalization, focusing - the act of bringing into focus Hispanic Ministry for the New Century symposium, convoked in February by the U.S. Catholic bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs in Colorado Springs, Colorado The City of Colorado Springs is the second most populous city (after Denver) in the state of Colorado and the 48th most populous city in the United States. The city is the county seat of El Paso County. , knew each other: They had shared three Hispanic Encuentros and many years of history, memories, and struggles. They were the leaders of national, regional, and diocesan Hispanic ministry organizations. As the symposium started, the air was familiar and the language laden with the same expressions that have been used for the past 30 years: historic memory, people on the move, the reflection from the "bases" (grass roots grass roots
pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
1. People or society at a local level rather than at the center of major political activity. Often used with the.
2. The groundwork or source of something. ), pastoral de conjunto con·jun·to
n. pl. con·jun·tos
1. A dance band, especially in Latin America.
2. A style of popular dance music originating along the border between Texas and Mexico, characterized by the use of accordion, drums, (integral ministry), the see-judge-act method, and the richness and contributions of the Hispanic community to the church of the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .
But there was something very different about the way in which all these terms were used as these leaders sensed the potentially revolutionary power of this gathering. The symposium was conceived as a pastoral and theological reflection on Hispanic ministry based on Encuentro 2000. For some, last year's Encuentro gathering in Los Angeles Los Angeles (lôs ăn`jələs, lŏs, ăn`jəlēz'), city (1990 pop. 3,485,398), seat of Los Angeles co., S Calif.; inc. 1850. simply signified a moment of celebration of the diversity of the U.S. church in the third millennium. Its deeper significance, however, did not escape most of the leaders of Hispanic ministry organizations throughout the country.
The changing face of the house of God that Encuentro 2000 celebrated implies not just a change of color Noun 1. change of color - an act that changes the light that something reflects
change of state - the act of changing something into something different in essential characteristics
whitening, lightening - changing to a lighter color but a profound change of structures. It requires a type of translation that transcends all grammar and syntax and even words. The community of believers had until now thought in patterns particular to a monolingual mon·o·lin·gual
Using or knowing only one language.
mono·lin , monocultural world, with certain concessions to the minority immigrant cultures constantly arriving in the country--until they could be fully assimilated.
That is no longer possible in the third millennium. Hispanic ministry is being translated from "ministry to Hispanics" to the "ministry of Hispanics in the whole U.S. church." That is quite a change for which Hispanic leaders are too painfully aware they are not quite prepared, despite the great strides made in leadership training, education, the recognition of the role of women in the church and society, and the great contributions the Hispanic community has made to church and society in the United States.
The symposium participants have a very clear sense of what the journey ahead entails: education, education, and education--of Hispanics themselves, their leaders, and the rest of the church, who need to be trained to think and feel in Spanish, as Hispanics learn to think and feel in all the other languages of the house of God in this country.