by Father Scott Wallisch
Like many parts of the United States, we are blessed with a vibrant, diverse, growing number of Hispanic Catholics in our archdiocese.
Throughout our nation’s history, there have been similar influxes of immigrants and their children and grandchildren swelling the ranks of our Catholic population. These groups have striven to achieve integration into the larger society, but often they have best been served by priests who know their language and culture. This is true today.
Several of my fellow priests in our presbyterate serve with Hispanic Catholics. They minister faithfully and with great dedication, but they need reinforcements.
Most of these current priests are not originally from northeast Kansas. Their service is invaluable, but I know they would agree that it would be wonderful for them to serve next to more priests who are from our local Hispanic communities.
I am convinced that God is calling many young men to priestly vocations from our local Hispanic Catholics but, for various reasons, these vocations are not currently being realized.
Immigration struggles, familial financial needs, lack of awareness about the priesthood and discernment, and general American societal avoidance of commitment and sacrifice all work against young men trying to find God’s will for their lives.
Cultivating these priestly vocations is a challenge experienced by dioceses throughout our country, but it is a challenge that needs to be faced.
To address this challenge and to help cultivate these vocations, our priests in Hispanic ministry are establishing a discernment group for young Hispanic men. These men may be Spanish speakers, English speakers or bilingual.
The monthly meeting will include Mass, a free meal, the vocation story of one of the priests who works in Hispanic ministry, and small group discussions that will allow young men of similar age groups to discuss topics related to discernment.
I believe that this discernment group will help men see that, if they are called to the priesthood, it is wonderful gift from God and an amazing way that they can serve the universal church and their local Catholic community.
The first meeting will be on Nov. 26 at Good Shepherd Church, Shawnee, beginning at the 12:15 p.m. Spanish Mass.
The location of subsequent meetings will change each month to give the participants an opportunity to see how the faith is lived out in the various parishes that serve our Hispanic community throughout the archdiocese.
If you are a single Hispanic man, high school age or older, you are welcome to join us.
If not, I ask you to help me by inviting possible participants and by praying for the success in this ministry. Contact me by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.