USA: Hispanic Family Ministry unites for a great mission

Article nr. 2: The “Federation” integrates and projects itself

© The National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry

One year ago, the Catholic Family Life Association (CFLA, formerly NACFLM) founded a subsidiary organization to address the growing need for Family ministry with Hispanics in the United States. It is the Federation for Hispanic Family Ministry.

The Federation’s contribution to the Raíces y Alas leadership conference

The sixth national congress of Hispanic Ministry, Raíces y Alas, which took place last April in Washington, DC, offered the aforementioned federation the opportunity to introduce itself to 400 Catholic pastoral leaders, who at the end of the congress participated in a survey that placed Family Ministry as the first priority.

The Federation team was responsible for coordinating one of the four pastoral priorities of the congress: the family. In the topic guide presented on the website, they shared their vision of the reality of Hispanic families in the Church, stating the importance of “family, an extended family, a sense of community and a hospitable spirit, which provides fertile ground for families to be domestic churches,” as published in their paper.

It also mentions that faith is an important component of Hispanic people, which includes the reception of the sacraments and the importance of faith formation in our Domestic Churches.

Tough Challenges

As a challenge, it notes that in many homes children have been raised in culturally Catholic environments, but lack a deep understanding of the faith, as many are Catholic by tradition and not by conviction. It also points out that there is a lack of understanding between members of the same family, due to language and cultural barriers, and that relationships are weakened due to parents’ work schedules, which leads to isolation and generational distances.

According to the report, various issues “generate a greater need to provide resources to cope with grief, loss and loneliness, as the pandemic has disproportionately affected Hispanic families”; and they add that depression, anxiety, significant increases in alcohol and drug addictions, pornography, screen addictions and domestic violence profoundly affect family dynamics.

Given that a significant percentage of Hispanic families in the U.S. Catholic Church are undocumented or have undocumented family members, the fear of deportation and family separation commonly experienced by undocumented individuals resulting in financial hardship is a source of distress for numerous Hispanic families. This reality causes high levels of domestic violence, sexual abuse, addiction, divorce and separation.

The summary presented by the Priority Family team at the Raíces y Alas conference to raise awareness about the importance of family ministry with Hispanic families includes the topic of the reality of evangelization and vocations with Hispanic families.

First National Meeting of the Federation for Pastoral Familiar Hispana

The Federation for Hispanic Family Ministry was founded on September 24, 2021, during the annual meeting of the National Association of Catholic Family Life Ministers (today CFLA, Catholic Family Life Association), which took place in Washington, DC, on the day it was presented to the participants of the aforementioned meeting.

Following the Federation’s presentation to U.S. Hispanic pastoral leaders at the Raíces y Alas conference in April 2022, the Federation held its first national meeting in San Antonio, Texas, October 18-20, as part of the annual meeting of members of the Catholic Family Life Association.

CFLA – Catholic Family Life Association

The general event brought together 200 leaders in marriage and family life ministry to discuss topics related to marriage and family enrichment, accompaniment of marginalized Catholics, children of divorce, women who have lost a pregnancy and women suffering from infertility.

Bishop Daniel Flores, of Brownsville, Texas, president of the Doctrine Committee of USCCB, and responsible for the document that gathers the contributions of the USA for the Synod of Bishops, spoke about synodality, awakening lively interest among those present. At the same time, Joel de Loera, director of the Hispanic Apostolate of the Diocese of Arlington, offered a workshop on the challenges faced by immigrant families.

Key issues about the Federation

Diocesan and parish marriage and family life leaders with the specific role of working with those interested in ministry with Hispanics may join the Federation. Leaders/representatives of Catholic movements and apostolates, especially those working with Hispanic families, may also become members and/or participate in the Federation (within CFLA).

These members are eligible to vote, hold office (after attending two consecutive conferences) and serve on committees. Current CFLA members may join the Federation as an institution or individually for only $25 per year.

Its board of directors currently consists of eight members. In order of appearance in the photo, they are: -standing: Jake Samour, president; Ed Hopfner, vice president; Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, Episcopal liaison; Mario Martinez, finance officer. Seated: Julia Dezelski: liaison to the USCCB Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth secretariat; Socorro Truchan: communications; Carla Ferrando: secretary and formation; and Lucia Luzondo, membership officer.

The Hispanic community celebrates that Socorro Truchan, in addition to being a member of the Federation’s steering committee, is president-elect of CFLA. It means that the current president, Jason Kidd, will continue to serve in that capacity until the next annual meeting, when Socorro will take over the two-year presidency.

The next national meeting of the Federation will take place in Orlando, Florida with the launch of the first Spanish-language Hispanic Federation conference within the framework of the Catholic Family Life Association’s national event, and its tentative date is October 17-19, 2023.

More information about the Federation can be accessed through the following link: To access the main events of the Pastoral de Conjunto in the USA you can visit this link: 

The National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry in the US -NCCHM- has just published together with the Catholic Family Life Association -CFLA-, the Federation for Hispanic Family Ministry and Schoenstatt Communicators two videos: one about the projects of the aforementioned association for the year 2023, with the families of the USA, and another one about Hispanic Family Ministry. We share them below.