by Father Pat Murphy
In 2004, the U.S. bishops wrote a document, entitled “Encuentro and Mission,” in which they urged all those involved in Hispanic ministry to build a plan of action with careful attention to four specific pastoral dimensions as they are related to the New Evangelization. I am delighted to share with you a few highlights from our plan for the coming year.
New Evangelization and Formation:
Formation of the laity is a key component of growth in the faith life of the Hispanic community, and so our plan involves the following:
• We started a three-year cycle of formation of leaders for the New Evangelization with 30 candidates attending classes every Monday.
• We will continue to offer short-term courses on the Catholic faith in different parishes.
•We will organize a series of bilingual work-shops for youth leaders.
New Evangelization and Mission:
We have worked to instill in the community a sense of church as mission and the need to be active disciples in mission. And so, this year our plan of action is:
• We will continue to support the evangelization process.
• We will organize four evangelization retreats this year.
•We will prepare mission teams for door-to-door mission visits.
New Evangelization — Prayer and Liturgy:
It is in the celebration of liturgy where the Hispanic community makes its presence first known at a local church, and so we must plan accordingly.
•We will organize an archdiocesan workshop for Hispanic choirs.
• We will provide workshops for the different liturgical ministries.
• We will offer two archdiocesan retreats in Spanish at key liturgical moments (Advent and Lent).
New Evangelization — Pastoral de Conjunto:
This concept involves a collaborative planning that promotes communion and mission, and so we will strive to make this happen in the following areas:
•We will have quarterly meetings of the Hispanic Advisory Council.
• We will meet with the priests of Hispanic ministry for mutual support.
• We will continue to collaborate with groups that work for comprehensive immigration reform.
•We will work with those parishes involved in transitions as a result of the pastoral planning process.
• We will continue to dialogue and collaborate with different archdiocesan offices.
In conclusion, I have no doubt that the Hispanic community in the archdiocese will continue to grow, as will the challenges to offer it more pastoral services. In the meantime, we must find more creative ways, as well as resources, to make sure we do not lose any more Hispanic Catholics along the way. One way to make sure this happens is through a systematic pastoral planning process that builds on the wisdom of the U.S. bishops who wrote “Encuentro and Mission.”