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Hispanic/Latino Affairs

"We, the bishops of the United States, have heard the voices of Hispanic leaders - both laity and clergy. We especially affirm those pastoral efforts of Hispanic ministry that promote the general objective and the specific dimensions of the 1987 National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry ("National Pastoral Plan" or "Pastoral Plan"). This pastoral statement, Encuentro and Mission: A Renewed Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry, is addressed to all Catholics, but particularly to pastoral leaders involved in ministry among Hispanics…"

Welcome from the Subcommittee Chairman,                              Bishop Gerald Barnes

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

diversityWe rejoice in knowing that the Hispanic/Latino people are a gift and a blessing to the Church and to the society in the United States. We know that millions of Hispanics/Latinos contribute to the life and the mission of the church in thousands of parishes and small ecclesial communities throughout the nation. Today we have an increasing number of priests, deacons, religious men and women and lay ecclesial ministers who provide leadership and service not only to the Hispanic/Latino but to the entire church. Furthermore, the proliferation of ecclesial movements such as Charismatic Renewal, Cursillo, Marriage Encounter and many other movements provide the church with great vitality and with renewed hope and joy. This rich harvest of ministers and ministries has allowed the formation of national and regional Catholic Hispanic organizations which significantly contribute to the development, formation and accompaniment and support of the increasing network of Catholic leaders of Hispanic/Latino heritage... MORE


2015 News Update from the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs (SCHA)
By: Mr. Alejandro Aguilera-Titus

Leadership Institute - Alejandro Aguilera

Orientation on the Process of Encuentro during Catholic Congress Roots and Wings

The Subcommittee sponsored a National Orientation on the Encuentro Process, which took place on October 30, 2014 in San Antonio, TX. The orientation was a successful event with 157 participants and all 14 Episcopal Regions represented. Seventeen bishops participated in the Orientation, including our host Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller. As preparation for the Orientation, Archbishop José Gomez offered opening remarks on the call for a Continental Mission emerging from the Aparecida CELAM Conference, and how it relates to Hispanic/Latino ministry in the United States, and the Encuentro Process.

The first goal of the Orientation was to introduce the overall structure and vision of the Equipo Nacional de Acompañamiento Hacia un V Encuentro (ENAHVE). Bishops Gerald Barnes, Arturo Cepeda and Nelson Perez shared their vision on the Process of Encuentro, and Dr. Hosffman Ospino, Assistant Professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education at Boston College, gave an inspiring presentation: "Called and Sent to Encuentro: A Pastoral Theological Vision for the V Encuentro Process".

The second goal for the Orientation was to begin to form Episcopal Regional Teams that will serve as the vehicle to guide the Episcopal Regions to better understand the Encuentro Process. This goal was accomplished as each Episcopal Region has identified a chairperson who will collaborate with the Lead Bishop and the Anchoring Institution's representative in coordinating the Regional Team.

Preparation towards a V Encuentro

The Subcommittee met in conjunction with the USCCB November meeting in Baltimore, MD and identified the following two areas as significant events/action items during the year 2015:

A) Send a letter inviting the collaboration of different USCCB Committees on the proposed celebration of a Fifth National Encuentro for Hispanic/Latino Ministry (V Encuentro) as a priority activity for the USCCB's planning cycle starting in January, 2017. The central goal of  the Encuentro is to discern how the Church can best respond to the fast growing Hispanic/Latino presence in our dioceses and parishes so that, in turn, Hispanics/Latinos can more fully engage in the life and mission of the Church in the United States, as active disciples in Christ.

B) Form Episcopal Regional Teams. These teams will be responsible for the leadership development process within each region. It involves:

-National Training of 15 Regional Chairpersons on the Process of Encuentro in Baltimore, MD on Feb 12-14, 2015. ENAHVE will conduct the National Training under the leadership of Bishop Arturo Cepeda.

-Two-day Leadership Retreat to form 14 Episcopal Regional Teams on the Process of Encuentro (March-June). It is up to each Episcopal Region to determine the time and place for this retreat. Each regional chairperson will coordinate the Leadership Retreat.

-Two-day Pre-Encuentro in each Episcopal Region. It is up to each Regional Team to determine the date and time and to facilitate the regional Pre-Encuentro (November- December).

Preparation for participation in the VIII World Meeting of Families

            The Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs, in collaboration with the Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America, is conducting a one-day Encuentro between families representing different Episcopal Conferences in Latin America, and Hispanic/Latino families in leadership roles representing the 15 Episcopal Regions in the United States. The Encuentro is designed as a dialogue that can generate mutual understanding and future collaboration on marriage and family ministries across the Continent. The one-day event is scheduled for Monday, September 21, 2015 in conjunction the VIII World Meeting of Families to take place on September 22-27, 2015 in Philadelphia, PA.

Priority on Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry

            Bishop Alberto Rojas will meet with representatives of Catholic national organizations serving young people to start a conversation on how to better serve this growing population in the future. Organizations have been asked to assess their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges in their ministry with the Hispanic/Latino young church. This conversation can promote future collaboration among the organizations involved and in the V Encuentro, which identifies young people as a high priority. The meeting will take place in conjunction with the Annual Membership Meeting of the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry in Colorado Springs in early February, 2015. Bishop Rojas will also represent the Committee on Cultural Diversity at the XVIII Latin American Encounter of Bishops and National Directors/Coordinators of Pastoral Juvenil in Curazao, March 15-20, 2015.

            The Subcommittee will meet in conjunction with the USCCB June meeting in St. Louis, MO.

The Subcommittee Mandate

The Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs is under the direction of and assists the Committee on Cultural Diversity within the Church by working collaboratively with the committee and other USCCB committees to affirm the gifts and contributions of Hispanic Catholics and to provide more opportunities for Hispanic Catholics to engage in the life of the Church and help shape its evangelization mission.

This mandate includes the following areas of responsibility:

The Subcommittee is directly responsible for outreach to Hispanic communities and to work closely with the subcommittee on Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees.

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