A Growing Hispanic Presence in U.S. Church

Spanish-speaking and Latino Catholics already represent about one-third of the Catholic population in the U.S. church, and their numbers are increasing rapidly. “This growth is a blessing, but also it comes with a lot of challenges: We need to find a way to integrate the Hispanic community in fullness into the life of the church in the United States,” said Gustavo Valdez, a director of Hispanic ministry for the Diocese of Charleston, S.C. “The Hispanic community is growing in its own way, and the Anglo community is trying to maintain parishes in the United States, but we may not have that communion of communities, and sometimes we are trying to assimilate each other,” Valdez said, speaking at the 17th Southeast Regional Encuentro for Hispanic ministry hosted by the Miami-based Southeast Pastoral Institute on Oct. 17–20. “We are universal, and that means we have to work in a way that we can live together as a Christian community, as a Catholic community and accept each other as God’s gift,” said Valdez.

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