Hispanic Ministry and Parish Life

Hispanic Ministry in Catholic ParishesThis semester I’ve had the pleasure of working with ten undergraduate students in a course called “Foundations for Ministry,” which is geared toward exploration of lay ministry in the Catholic church today.  The sources we’ve read as well as much of the students’ research into pastoral issues involved the intersection of tradition, culture, and experience in pastoral ministry.

Yesterday the executive summary of an exhaustive study of Hispanic ministry in the U.S. was released.  It’s the result of a collaboration between Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D. of Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, and the Center for Applied Research on the Apostolate.  The summary underscores the deep history of Catholic Hispanics, reminding the church that Hispanic Catholicism is the foundation of Catholic experience in what became the United States:  “It is one of the anomalies of history that the Hispanic parish, which came first for American Catholicism, is often viewed as a new creation” (6).

By surveying the landscape of parish ministry with Hispanics today, the summary paints a dynamic portrait of Hispanic Catholicism, offers greater understanding of the pressing pastoral needs associated with Hispanic ministry, and issues a call to recognize, welcome, and embrace Hispanic Catholicism in parish life.

What is your experience of Hispanic ministry?   Your reflections are welcome in the comments.