About Our Office
In service to the bishops of the United States, the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth aims to provide support and guidance for the pastoral work towards youth and young adults (los jóvenes) in light of the New Evangelization. By connecting with dioceses and Catholic youth, young adult, and Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (PJH) organizations across the United States, the USCCB offers a network of resources and information that can foster growth in the Church's outreach and ministry with jóvenes throughout the country.
Quienes Son 'Los Jóvenes '?
In Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry, the term 'jóvenes' is used to describe young people between the ages of 18-35, and ministry with them is known as "pastoral juvenil hispana".
The USCCB recognizes the vastness of this age demographic and the rich diversity that the Hispanic/Latino culture contributes to the life of the Church. What unites them all is their youthful enthusiasm and energy, but also the challenges of transition and discovery. Pastoral Juvenil Hispana celebrates the excitement and optimistic outlook of immigrant generations and those that follow and offer opportunities for holistic growth and pastoral care for our jóvenes.
'Los jóvenes' represent men and women in their late teens, twenties, and thirties who represent diverse cultural, racial, ethnic, educational, vocational, social, political, and spiritual backgrounds. They are college students, workers, and professionals; they are persons in military service; they are single, married, divorced, or widowed; they are with or without children; they are newcomers in search of a better life.
Pastoral Juvenil/Ministry with Hispanic Youth and Young Adults
"Supporting our jóvenes' Hispanic identity and their openness to other cultures has been one of the constant values of Hispanic ministry. All pastoral action, if t is to be effective, must take into account the person and his or her history and culture, as Jesus demonstrated when he was incarnated into the history and culture of His time" (Statement of the Board of Directors of La RED, Conclusiones, 2006).
In ministry and catechesis with jovenes, several important themes need to be emphasized: the formation of conscience, education for love, vocational discernment, Christian involvement in society, missionary responsibility in the world, the relationship between faith and reason, the existence and meaning of God, the problem of evil, the Church, the objective moral order in relation to personal subjectivity, the relationship between man and woman, and the social doctrine of the Church, paying particular attention to cultural roots and traditions that strengthen our identity in Jesus Christ.
- To connect los jóvenes with Jesus Christ through spiritual formation/direction, religious education/formation, and vocational discernment
- To connect los jóvenes to the Church through evangelizing outreach, formation of the faith community, and pastoral care.
- To connect los jóvenes with the mission of the Church in the world through forming a Christian conscience, educating and developing leaders for the present and future.
- To connect los jóvenes with a peer community through developing peer leadership and identifying a young adult team for the purpose of forming faith communities of peers.
- Los jóvenes, especially young migrants and immigrants, have left home and lack resources and a place to call home where they are freely able to worship and participate in the life of the Church.
- Los jóvenes have been captivated by the consumerism and materialism of the society in which they grew up and have become apathetic and cynical.
- Juventud is sometimes a world of boredom, disillusionment, and indifference to the Church.
- Los jóvenes need a non-threatening place where they can freely express their questions, doubts, and even disagreements with the Church and where the teachings of the Church can be clearly articulated and related to their experience.
- Los jóvenes make some of the most important decisions in their lives about their Christian vocation, their career, and their choice of spouse.
Pathways of Hope and Faith Among Hispanic Teens: Pastoral Reflections and Strategies Inspired by the National Study of Youth and Religion
Edited by Ken Johnson-Mondragón.
"Building on the largest national survey of teenage religion ever conducted, leading Catholic and Protestant experts recount in unprecedented detail the experiences of God, faith, community, youth ministry, and family among the fastest-growing segment of young people in the country— Latinos. Listen as young Hispanics describe their faith and hopes in their own words; gain understanding of the major issues affecting their religious development and life prospects; and improve your ministry or family life with insightful pastoral recommendations."