All posts tagged: Hispanic Catholicism

Reflections on Latino Ministry

“Others always have something to give me, if we know how to approach them in a spirit of openness and without prejudice.” As an apprentice in the Echo program, I have spent the better part of the past two years working in ministry with Hispanic people, most of whom are immigrants from Southern Mexico. Over the course of my apprenticeship, I have tried many times to put pen to paper with regard to my experience, willing myself to compose a piece of writing that could capture the challenges, joys, necessities, and singularity of Latino ministry. Until now, these earlier attempts were always met with some measure of self-resistance. The doubts would arise early on: how can I, an educated, white female, claim to say anything of merit about ministry with the Hispanic community? How could my reflections not just be an appropriation of another culture—the use of someone else’s story to further my own name? Is it okay to reflect theologically on experiences of life that don’t belong to me? At the end of the …

“That All May Be One”: Cultural Unity in Shared Parishes

The Catholic Church of the United States has always been diverse. Ever since the conception of this country people from many different lands and cultures have come here to begin a new life. America became known as the breeding ground for an encounter of cultures because never before in human history had so many different people come into contact with each other in one country. Certainly, this diversity spread into the Catholic Church. The Church, too, became the grounds of cultural encounter, and it was the work of the Church that helped these encounters take place. We find ourselves in no different of a situation today in our country. With the influx of Latinos all throughout the U.S., parishes once again are the places of interaction between two cultures and the Church will have to wrestle with how to allow this interaction to happen. The following is my attempt to offer some suggestions to help think about how Latinos and Anglos can better interact together and form a better unity in the U.S. Church, a …

Mary as Icon of Evangelization: Behold Your Mother

I grew up in a very Marian based Christo-centric tradition. From my earliest memories I remember beautiful Marian prayers like the Memorare, the many joyful hymns to Mary, pilgrimages, beautifully decorated home altars with her image, Rosary devotions and lavish parish celebrations in her honor. We (those of us in this tradition) loved her because she was the Mother of Jesus and our Mother. Some have questioned our love of Mary, reminding us that Christ alone is necessary for salvation. This is very true, but is it not also the case that some of the most beautiful and treasured gifts in life are not necessary? The gifts of love are not necessary, and that is precisely why they are so precious. Amazing, but not surprising. Jesus left the best for the end. Throughout his life, he was always thinking of others and even offered his life on the Cross for our salvation. His entire life was one of multiple gifts—the gift of his teaching, his healings, his feeding of the masses, his joy of table …

Juan Diego and Latino Lay Spirituality: The Sacred Broomstick

In light of the recent trip of Pope Francis to Mexico and his visit to the Basilica of Guadalupe, the person of St. Juan Diego provokes an invitation to consider his virtues and those of other Latinos who have imitated his “practical Christianity.”[2] We know from the Nican Mopohua that the intensity of his conversion to the message of Our Lady of Guadalupe was matched only by his ardent desire to heal his uncle Juan Bernardino, who was lying on his deathbed.[3] In the homily at the canonization, Pope St. John Paul II extolled the new saint’s humility and noted that his witness of faith became “the catalyst for a new Mexican identity” and “facilitated the meeting of two worlds.”[4] The Pope then implored Juan Diego from heaven to “bless families, strengthen spouses in their marriage, [and] sustain the efforts of parents to give their children a Christian upbringing.”[5] St. Juan Diego can thus help Latino families in the New Evangelization to explore with new vigor the challenge of passing on the faith. Virgil Elizondo …