I attended the retreat in Chicago April 10-12, 2013 for the Planning Board Members of Federación de Institutos Pastorales (FIP), The National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry (NCCHM), and The National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry (NCADDHM). The goal of the retreat was to prepare for the first National Annual Joint Meeting of US Hispanic Leadership in Las Vegas, focused on the “Pastoral Hispana de Conjunto in Light of the New Evangelization”. It is scheduled for August 26-28, 2013. Two members from La Red also represented the national Hispanic youth organization.
The Board members of the participating organizations took this time to meet and reflect together. We focused on ‘where and how’ we are in each of our organizations in reference to our vision and mission. We followed the methodology of Theological Reflection.
As an introduction, we started with BEING. We shared the history of each organization including who our members are as well as some of our achievements. We became aware of many things we have in common. FIP is the oldest having been founded in 1984 (“The Grandparents”), followed by NCCHM and NCADDHM in 1991 and La Red in 1993-94.
We followed with SEE. With courage and honesty we saw our reality filled with challenges and opportunities. The challenges included the lack of financial resources, disappearing Hispanic Ministry offices in the dioceses and opening of new multicultural offices, the needs of second and third generations of Hispanics, and the need for specially-prepared ministers to serve youth in addition to the needs for lay adult faith formation and lay pastoral leadership. The opportunities are actually the same as the challenges.
Moving to JUDGE/DISCERN, we reviewed the reasons for the existence of our organizations. We questioned ourselves on how our organizations continue to be prophetic voices in our Church today. This question initiated a profound reflection that will continue during the joint gathering.
Finally: ACT. Among other things we proposed to review our vision and mission statements and see if they respond to the needs of our present reality in the Church and society. One of our main conclusions was to teach and promote the “Pastoral de Conjunto” in our Church and society.
Our retreat was a fraternal encounter among the leadership of the four national organizations that serve Hispanic pastoral ministry in the USA. I experienced a true opening of hearts and minds led by the Holy Spirit.