US Hispanic ministry projects itself strongly 

Article No. 1: Raíces y Alas and NCCHM integrating Pastoral de Conjunto

"Raíces y Alas" Congress © Chucho Picón

At the end of the year 2022 and the beginning of 2023, we are offering in different installments a review of the main outreach of the Hispanic ministry in the United States in the year 2022. This had relevance not only in the USA, but also at a continental level, in the Americas, since the bridges that cross between nations and with CELAM enhance the common mission.

Raíces y Alas: in-person participation takes off and joint work is boosted

The great in-person takeoff after the hardest moments of the pandemic was the Sixth National Congress of Hispanic Ministry, Raíces y Alas, which is held approximately every four years, and which brings together the main institutions related to Hispanic Ministry in the United States, in what is called “Pastoral de Conjunto,” since the different organizations work in a network, with the objective of empowering all the apostolic forces at their disposal. The goal is to achieve this in communion, in a spirit of synodality.

More than 400 national leaders of Hispanic ministry from the most diverse organizations participated in the Raíces y Alas VI congress. The event was also attended by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre; the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop José Gomez, and 15 bishops from the aforementioned body. Also in attendance were international leaders, such as the secretary of the Dicastery for Communication, Mons. Lucio Ruiz; the secretaries of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Dr. Emilce Cuda and Dr. Rodrigo Guerra Lopez; and the president of the Latin American Episcopal Council, Archbishop Miguel Cabrejos.

The Raíces y Alas congress is organized by the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry (NCCHM), whose mission is to serve the diverse Hispanic/Latino institutions in the United States. As stated on its website, “NCCHM is the vehicle for communication, reflection, dialogue, networking and collaboration among national and regional ministerial and professional organizations, institutes, religious movements and congregations, and lay leaders”.

The 4 Priorities of Hispanic Ministry

Through the 4 pastoral priorities of Raíces y Alas: Family, Pastoral Juvenil Hispana, Pastoral Formation, and Social Justice, NCCHM deepens its mission among Hispanics in the United States, emphasizing the importance of doing so for their concrete reality living in the country. At the same time, it creates ties with Latin America through CELAM, since the roots of the Latino people in the United States are found there, aiming at an organic integration that enriches both realities. NCCHM also generates bridges of dialogue, formation and growth with other international institutions, such as the Holy See, both in the universal synodal process, as well as receiving the assistance of CAL, the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, which Pope Francis has encouraged to accompany Hispanic ministry also in the United States.

It should be emphasized that both the Hispanic coordinating Council and the participating organizations of the broadest pastoral spectrum are independent from the institutional point of view, and do not depend on the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), but work in a profound communion of ideals and mission with it. This allows for a fruitful integration between the officialdom of the Church and its doctrinal and accompanying richness, and the life and creativity of the institutions, which together tend to aim at a synodal and prophetic Church.

Advocating for immigrants in front of the Capitol and before senators

One of the activities organized by Raíces y Alas was widely reported in the national media. It was the massive presence of attendees at a press conference that took place in front of the U.S. Capitol, in which they advocated for the rights of immigrants, especially young adults who arrived in the country at a young age, who have a fully established life here, but who lack legal support to remain permanently in the country, and who run the risk of being deported to their country of origin, with which they have practically no contact. This refers to DACA, “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.”

Among the speakers were the president of the Hispanic Council NCCHM, Puerto Rican Elisabeth Román; the president of the Migration Commission of the Episcopate of the United States, Colombian Bishop Mario Dorsonville, auxiliary of Washington; and the secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America -CAL-, Argentinian Dr. Emilce Cuda. Dr. Rodrigo Guerra López, also secretary of the same commission, gave before an address on the Social Doctrine of the Church as applied to the life of Catholics.

Following the press conference, Raíces y Alas congress attendees met with their respective senators to personally petition for immigrant rights.

The momentum continues with numerous events and activities

After the Raíces y Alas congress, the Hispanic Council participated in national and international events, promoting the integration and common work of the Hispanic ministry in the United States.

With the Universal Church in Rome

One of these events consisted in the participation, on August 27, of members of the Board of Directors, president Elisabeth Román, and treasurer Juan Soto, in the elevation to cardinal of bishop Robert McElroy, of San Diego, California. On this occasion, Román and Soto had the opportunity to meet with the secretaries of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Dr. Rodrigo Guerra and Dr. Emilce Cuda; and at the headquarters of the Synod of Bishops on Synodality, with its secretary general, cardinal Mario Grech, and its undersecretaries, sister Nathalie Becquart and bishop Luis Marín de San Martín.

Pope Francis’ Theology of the People, in Chicago

On November 7, a course for religious and consecrated life took place in Chicago on the “The Thought of Pope Francis, an introduction to the theology of the people.” It was a day of formation held by NCCHM with the Academy of Catholic Leaders. More than 120 priests, religious sisters and brothers, deacons and leaders from the dioceses of Chicago, Joliet, Green Bay, Milwaukee, Indianapolis, South Bend, and San Antonio participated in the event which included as presenters the U.S. Nuncio, Archbishop Christophe Pierre; Dr. Rocco Buttiglione of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and former minister of Italy; José Antonio Rosas, director of the Academy of Catholic Leaders of Latin America and the U.S.; and Elisabeth Román, president of NCCHM.

International Seminar – Guadalupe Generation 2031

On December 10, the Hispanic Council NCCHM participated in the first International Seminar – Guadalupe Generation, which launched the international novena on the path towards the celebration of the apparitions of the Blessed Mother in Mexico 500 years ago, which will culminate in the Guadalupan Year 2031.

This international event was organized by the Academy of Catholic Leaders of Latin America and the USA, the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, the Primate Archdiocese of Mexico, the Mexican Episcopal Conference, and NCCHM, among others. Representing the Hispanic Ministry in the United States were the president of NCCHM, Elisabeth Román, who shared a testimony about the impact of Guadalupe on the migrant peoples in the United States; the president of “LA RED, National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana”, and Martín Soros, from the Schoenstatt Movement.

We would like to highlight the participation and presentation at the seminar of Alberto Ramirez Puig, CEO of Exaudi Catholic News, who through this platform offers the Church, with ample predisposition, the possibility of faithfully, generously and professionally promoting the Good News.

Forthcoming issues

Soon we will publish activities carried out by other national institutions of the Hispanic ministry in the United States, which share the same spirit of mission, driven by the motto of the Raíces y Alas 2022 congress: Prophetic Voices, being bridges for a new era.

For more information about the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry and the past and future activities of Pastoral de Conjunto in the United States, you can visit the following link: