Dear FCH Members,
Lots of exciting things happening here!
First and foremost, I want to take this opportunity to welcome our two new FCH Board Members, Marta Quiñones, Finance Officer, and Juan Carlos Moreno, Communications Officer. On behalf of FCH, we thank you for your commitment and dedication to the mission and service of the Church. We are excited about this collaboration because you each bring a wealth of experience and gifts. We also thank Martin Lopez, our former Finance Officer, for his contributions to FCH. We are grateful that Martin will continue to support FCH as a consultant for Loyola Press.
Secondly, I would like to share with you my experience at two very important national events that occurred over these past months. The first event was the National Colloquium on Pastoral Juvenil Hispana which was held in August and the other was the National Summit on Catholic Schools and Hispanic Families, held in September. Both gatherings were sponsored in part by Boston College and were spearheaded by our friend and colleague, Dr. Hosffman Ospino.
The Colloquium brought together people from all over the nation who work in pastoral juvenil at the parish and diocesan level, as well as Catholic publishers, and leaders from many national Catholic organizations, including La Red, SEPI, NFCYM, and the USCCB. The conversations that took place at this gathering were based on study documents written in the areas of leadership, faith formation, at-risk youth, diocesan and parish life, and many more. The Colloquium noted that one of the focuses of the Fifth Encuentro is Hispanic youth and young adults, and therefore this gathering would lead the conversations that will take place during the Encuentro process.
Here are some of the questions raised at the Colloquium for your own reflection:
- How do we imagine better ways to reach out to this important population of U.S. Catholics?
- How do we engage Hispanic youth with a renewed sense of ministerial creativity?
- How do we respond to their most immediate pastoral and spiritual needs?
The National Summit was another important and much needed gathering. Did you know that there are 8 million Hispanic school-age Catholics in the U.S. but that only 4% of those 8 million are enrolled in Catholic schools? This Summit brought together teachers, principals, superintendents, Hispanic Ministry Coordinators, and many other church leaders, in order to openly discuss how we should respond to that reality together, as a Church. Some of the questions we were asked to discuss in our groups were: what could we do to link Catholic Schools with Hispanic families? When will we invest in Catholic education for our Hispanic children?
If there was something I walked away with form this Summit, it was the importance of dialogue and making intentional connections. There were many important conversations that took place at this National Summit; we now must bring these conversations to the regional and local level. I am excited to see the results and trickle-down effect that this Summit initiated.
Please feel free to share with me any ideas or input you have in regards to these two national gatherings. As President of FCH, I invite you to be a part of these ongoing discussions.
Thank you and God bless.