How does your parish reach out to Hispanics in your community?

Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of Los Angeles distributes Communion during a Mass in Los Angeles honoring Our Lady of Guadalupe Dec. 4. The feast, whichis Dec. 12, celebrates the appearance of Mary to indigenous peasant St. Juan Diego in 1531 near present-day Mexico City. (CNS photo/Victor Aleman, Vida Nueva)

We received a wide variety of responses to our question about how parishes are reaching out to Hispanics, who now make up the majority of U.S. Catholics under age 18. The most common answer was that respondents’ parishes offered Mass in Spanish, followed by parishes’ celebration of feast days of importance to Hispanics (like the feast of La Virgen de Guadalupe) and religious education offerings in Spanish.

Readers whose parishes already engaged in outreach to Hispanics gave ideas for how to welcome this community better. “I would like to invite Hispanics and other minority groups to join the liturgy committee and other leadership groups so they are able to have a real say in the direction of the parish,” said Julie Sutton of Canton, Ohio.

Advertisement

Yvette Fuentes of Miramar, Fla., told America that she hoped other parishes in her area would join her own parish’s successful efforts. “My parish does an excellent job reaching out to Hispanics—we are a majority-minority parish,” she wrote. “What’s sad is that several other area churches do not make Hispanics feel welcome.”

“I would like to invite Hispanics and other minority groups to join the liturgy committee and other leadership groups so they are able to have a real say in the direction of the parish.”

Twenty-four percent of the 136 respondents said that their parishes made no efforts to reach out to Hispanics. Some expressed frustration at the lack of outreach. An anonymous reader from Marlboro, N.J., wrote: “My parish does nothing! Our pastor has commented about not wanting the Our Lady of Guadalupe icon at one point to avoid having ‘those people’ come to the church. It is no wonder Latinos flock to evangelical and Pentecostal churches.”

Many respondents in this camp said they hoped to see Spanish Mass available at their parishes in the future, in addition to priests hearing confession in Spanish and offering English lessons to parents. Sister Constance Marie Suchala of Toledo, Ohio, said she hoped to see her parish “connect Hispanics in the parish and help them to treasure their cultural traditions and to share them” with others.

Survey results.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.

Advertisement

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018
The coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII is seen during a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square after its arrival in Bergamo, Italy, May 24. The body of the late pope left the Vatican on May 24 to be displayed in his home region until June 10. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

BERGAMO, Italy (CNS) — Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St. John XXIII left the Vatican early on May 24 for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.

On this week's episode, we talk with Lieutenant Governor of Washington State, Cyrus Habib.
Olga SeguraMay 25, 2018