Fr. Efrain Rosado and his MACC Immersion Experience

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March 15, 2018

Fr. Efrain Roasdo, OSB
Coordinator of Multicultural Formation
Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary

The Hispanic Ministry in the 21st century program of the MACC is a two-week immersion experience that provides to its participants an appropriate and insightful introduction to Hispanic Ministry for Christian parishes, faith communities and schools. This program involves an academic and practical orientation to the culture, history, contemporary issues, religious practices and faith expressions of Latin American persons who have immigrated to the United States, and of persons who are of Latin American ancestry. This program provides a wide-ranging theoretical structure that can be employed as a model and guide to understand and appreciate the rich culture of Latin American peoples. It helps both non-Hispanics and Hispanics to reach a better knowledge and comprehension of the complexities of the multicultural diversity of our society and the intricacy of ministering to Hispanic persons in our contemporary communities of faith and education. The academic model of this program includes lectures and seminars in the classroom, time for reflection, group discussions and field trips in the city of San Antonio, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley, adjacent to the Mexican-American border.

The Hispanic Ministry in the 21st century program of the MACC includes several interesting topics and issues, such as: challenges of today’s Hispanic ministry, culture, communication, perceptions of power, Hispanic cultural patterns, intercultural respect and competencies, border experience and issues, Hispanic spirituality and popular religiosity, history and complexities of Hispanic immigration, pastoral principles, youth ministry.

Hispanics are in the center of the growth of the Catholic Church and of many other Christian Churches in the United States. For example, Hispanics account for 71 percent of the growth of the Catholic population in our country since 1960; 43% of all Catholic parishioners in the U.S. today are Hispanics, and about 60% of all U.S. Catholics younger than 18 are Hispanic. (Ospino, Hosffman. “Ten Ways Hispanics are Redefining American Catholicism.” America (Nov 13, 2017) 18-23.)

One of the great challenges that the Catholic Church in the U.S. is facing now is the appropriate integration of the Catholic Hispanic immigrants that are arriving to many parishes and schools in significant numbers. Ordained and Lay ecclesial ministers, liturgists, musicians and teachers know that these pilgrims must be welcomed and served with diligence and mercy; they place their own hopes and expectations before the faith community that receives them, and they deserve to be treated as brothers and sisters in Christ. We ecclesial ministers are also called to be formed in multiculturalism and we must form our English-speaking parishioners to be mindful and considerate with the Hispanic peoples that arrive to their communities of faith. Liturgical and social services should be provided to new Hispanic migrants, but there are still some issues to be addressed in our church in the U.S.: integral faith formation, acceptance of their customs and traditions, more palpable signs of recognition for their cultural values and a warmer reception, more shared activities and liturgies, more presence of Hispanics in the pastoral and financial councils and committees of our parishes and schools. The solution for these and other questions is calling for more renewed and constant efforts in the practice of prayer and good works on behalf of each and every one of the members of our faith communities, and on better efforts in providing a suitable formation at Saint John's School of Theology and Seminary for lay ecclesial ministers and ordained ministers that will understand, accept and appreciate the rich culture of Latin American peoples. The Hispanic Ministry in the 21st century program of the MACC is a program that helps us significantly to accomplish these goals.