Catholic Social Teaching Certificate Program for Hispanic/Latino Regional Facilitators

© Michael O’Neill McGrath, OSFS
The Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development (JPHD) collaborates with the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry (NCADDHM) in offering a Catholic Social Teaching formation opportunity and advocacy training for directors/coordinators of Hispanic/Latino Ministry with the intent to facilitate regional leadership formation through a “Train the Trainers” format. The Catholic Social Teaching Certificate Program for Hispanic/Latino Regional Facilitators seeks to address several of the recommendations made by the V Encuentro National Process of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (2018) and Missionary Disciples Going Forth with Joy: National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry (2023) about the formation needs of Hispanic/Latino Catholics and to build on their understanding of and commitment to Catholic Social Teaching.    

The CST Spanish sessions were offered from February 7th to March 6th, 2024. The CST English sessions will be offered on June 11th, 13th, 18th, 20th, and 25th from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Register here for the upcoming sessions.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Catholic Social Teaching?

Catholic Social Teaching (CST), also referred to as the Social Doctrine of the Church (SDC), is a rich treasure of wisdom about building a just society and living lives of holiness amidst the challenges of our modern world. The depth and richness of this tradition can be understood best through a direct reading of the Gospels and papal, conciliar, and episcopal documents. Learn more about Catholic Social Teaching on our CST page

Why is this Certificate Program being offered?

The V Encuentro National Process of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (2018) found that the treasure of the Church’s social teaching “is not widely known or understood in the Hispanic/Latino community in the United States” (V Encuentro Proceedings and Conclusions, p. 80). One recommendation of the V Encuentro was to include CST formation in training for all ministry leaders. Missionary Disciples Going Forth with Joy: National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry (2023) recommends “integrating the vision, principles, and values of Catholic Social Teaching and the personal moral life—as well as experiences of applying them to the most pressing social concerns in Hispanic/Latino communities–into faith formation programs for Catholics of all ages” (p. 28, citing the Directory for Catechesis, nos. 74c, 389-391). Following these recommendations, the new pastoral plan also suggests equipping Hispanic/Latino leaders for social mission by “providing opportunities for formation in Catholic Social Teaching and practices, including direct action, advocacy, and community organizing” (p. 51). 

What is covered in the Certificate Program?

Through the five sessions of the Certificate Program, participants become familiar with CST principles and values through the study of the CST foundational documents, the major CST themes highlighted in “Sharing Catholic Social Teaching: Challenges and Directions,” and the Two Feet of Love in Action. Participants identify social challenges impacting Hispanic/Latino Catholics and reflect on CST in light of their experiences as Hispanic/Latino Catholics. Finally, participants learn about bilingual formational materials and resources available on the social mission of the Church. Participants then work to integrate CST into their ministries and seek to share what they have learned with others. The sessions include:  

  • Session One: Exploring Catholic Social Teaching and the Social Challenges Impacting Hispanic/Latino Catholics 
  • Session Two: Life and Dignity of the Human Person and Our Call to Family, Community, and Participation  
  • Session Three: Rights and Responsibilities and the Option for the Poor and Vulnerable  
  • Session Four: Economic Justice/The Dignity of Work and Rights of Workers, Solidarity, and Care for God’s Creation  
  • Session Five: Putting Our Two Feet of Love in Action Through Social Justice and Charitable Works  

The sessions follow the See-Judge-Act methodology. This methodology, which was introduced in St. John XXIII’s social encyclical Mater et Magistra and embraced by the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopal Council (CELAM), allows participants to:  

  • Interpret the “signs of the times” (Vatican II, Gaudium et Spes, no. 4). 
  • “Illuminate with an unchanging light the new problems that are constantly emerging” (Caritas in Veritate, no. 12). 
  • Put their faith into action: “Each day we have to decide whether to be Good Samaritans or indifferent bystanders” (Fratelli Tutti, no. 69).  

What are the learning outcomes of the Certificate Program?

After completing the five sessions, participants will be able to achieve seven specific learning and action-oriented outcomes: 

  • Describe some of the key sources of the Church’s social teaching.   
  • Promote the seven themes of Catholic Social Teaching.  
  • Identify ways to adapt CST activities for various ages, ministries, and cultures.   
  • Identify CST biblical passages to mobilize their communities to address current social, political, economic, and religious realities within their local context.  
  • Find opportunities to link the Church’s social teaching to liturgical catechesis and formation activities on the sacraments and the Church’s social mission.  
  • Use different tools, resources, and best practices to analyze and act on the social challenges impacting Hispanic/Latino communities.   
  • Join local and regional efforts to create systemic change.   

Is there a Facilitator’s Guide for the newly formed?

A Facilitator’s Guide has been developed for graduates of the Certificate Program to use while sharing CST with their local leaders. The Catholic Social Teaching Facilitator’s Guide contains material for faith groups, families, and individuals to journey through CST in these five sessions. Each session includes an outline, opening and closing prayer, CST themes and their implications on social issues impacting Hispanic/Latino Catholics, discussion questions, tips, resources to put their faith into action, and homework assignments. These sessions can be held as either 90 or 180-minute gatherings and can be conducted virtually or in person.  

Note: The Catholic Social Teaching Facilitator’s Guide is only available to graduates of the Certificate Program.  

Why is the Certificate Program offered in collaboration with NCADDHM?

Over the years, NCADDHM has worked very closely with many USCCB departments and offices, including JPHD, in providing tools and resources and assisting in the ongoing professional development of diocesan staff to facilitate the full participation of Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the mission of the Church and society. We strongly believe that through this strategic collaboration, more Hispanic/Latino Catholics can benefit nationwide from the formation of CST and advocacy training based on the U.S. Hispanic/Latino experience to address some of the most pressing challenges impacting our diocesan and parish communities. By learning the skills of advocacy, more Hispanic/Latino Catholics will be trained to interpret the “signs of the times,” put their faith into action, and call on their local, state, and national elected officials to address the pressing needs and challenges within their respective communities. 

What are some of the fruits, results, and actions on the ground of the Certificate Program?

More than 80 leaders from over 40 (arch)dioceses and 12 Episcopal Regions, including directors and coordinators of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, collaborators from national organizations such as Catholic Relief Services, Catholic Charities member agencies, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, seminarians, community organizers, and lay leaders participated on March 6–15, 2023, in the first cohort of the CST Certificate Program. In 2024, more than 50 leaders from 35 (arch)dioceses and the 14 Episcopal Regions participated in the Spanish sessions of the Certificate Program.  

Graduates from several dioceses/regions have been sharing CST with their local leaders. Some of them have also engaged other collaborators such as their state Catholic conferences, Catholic Charities agencies, universities, community organizations, and even their elected officials to address challenges that adversely impact their communities.   

  • The Office of Latino Ministry at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis creatively engaged 45 participants of the Pastoral Leadership Institute in learning about CST and the Two Feet of Love in Action. During their social justice retreat on May 13, 2023, they packed 50 backpacks of personal care items for people in migrant detention centers and learned about local ways to advocate for immigrant’s rights. 
  • The Office of Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis led a Catholic Social Teaching training session on August 13, 2023, in collaboration with the Dioceses of Fort Wayne–South Bend and Lafayette. The participants learned about CST principles and advocated for a bill that would benefit thousands of undocumented immigrants with driver’s licenses in the State of Indiana. Staff of the Indiana State Catholic Conference and State Senators also joined the training. These same Offices organized a Legislative Breakfast on February 1, 2024, in collaboration with the Indiana Latino Institute to advocate for policies that safeguard the rights and dignity of Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the State of Indiana.  
  • The Offices of Latino Ministries and Life and Justice Ministries at the Diocese of Oakland put together a series of workshops on how the Eucharist inspires our work for mission. These workshops which were offered on Sept. 20 and Sept. 23, 2023, explored ways in which the Eucharist transforms and invites us to live CST as missionary disciples working to create a more just and dignified world. These workshops were offered in collaboration with the Instituto Hispano of the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University. One hundred and fifty participants attended the first workshop and over 100 attended the second workshop. A third workshop was offered online in collaboration with the local CRS Chapter which included the participation of more than 70 people.   

Twelve graduates of the first cohort of the Certificate Program have been recruited to form the National Team of Hispanic/Latino Catholic Social Teaching Facilitators. These facilitators are receiving additional training from Education and Outreach staff to prepare them to lead future CST formation sessions of the Certificate Program and within their own regions.