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.
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.