USA: Pastoral Care for Hispanics

Will Offer Formation and Promote Leadership of the Agents of Hispanic Family Pastoral Care

Pastoral Care for Hispanics
© Lorrie Gramer

Given the fact that almost half of the USA’s Catholics are Hispanics, and given the need to offer them a Family Pastoral Care adapted to their language and culture, the Board of Directors of the National Association of Catholic Agents of Pastoral Care of Family Life (NACFLM) approved, as its subsidiary, the formation of the Federation for Hispanic Family Pastoral Care.

Its objective is to offer formation at the national level for those who exercise pastoral care of Hispanic married couples and families; accompaniment and service to leaders of marital and family life ministries with and for Hispanics and, finally, research and development in the field of the pastoral care of married and family life with Hispanics.

The New Federation Stems from the NACFLM

 For more than 40 years, the National Association for Catholic Family Life Ministries (NACFLM) has been the principal professional organization for the pastoral care of Catholic marriage and family life in the United States. It has members from all over the country, at the diocesan, parish, and national level, and offers continuous formation to strengthen marriages and families.

Eighteen months ago, the Board of Directors of this institution set up an ad hoc Committee, directed by the representative of the Hispanic Section, Jake Samour, to consult with the leaders of the Hispanic ministry on the growing needs of family life ministry in the light of the process of the 5th National Meeting of Hispanic Pastoral Care, a process that took place in the country over five years. It was decided that a further effort must be made dedicated to this cultural group, to increase the opportunities of formation of the ministry’s leaders and to extend the offer of resources to the community.

The leadership — of the recently established Federation for Hispanic Family Pastoral Care — will function as a Commission within the NACFLM, and the Federation’s members will form part of the Hispanic Section. Jake Samour will act as President and those responsible in the different Committees and sub-groups within the Federation will also be members of the equivalent Commissions of the NACFLM. This agreement will enable the Federation to grow organically while it remains united to the mission and work of the NACFLM.

In the framework of the 2021 Annual Conference of the NACFLM members, which was held in the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, D.C. last September 24, Jake Samour, Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, and other leaders of the Founding Committee presented officially the foundation of the Federation to the participants in the mentioned meeting.

Leaders’ Expressions

 According to Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, Auxiliary of the Archdiocese of Denver and episcopal link both of the NACFLM, as well as of the new Federation, the “creation of the Federation for Hispanic Family Pastoral Care within the NACFLM makes visible the priority that family values have in Hispanic culture and in the Catholic Faith. At the same time, it responds to the need to form leaders able to offer support and to defend and promote those values in our present time in the United States.

“We are delighted to be recognized as a Federation. With the support of Bishop Rodriguez we will begin to design a new course for Family Pastoral Care that is centered on the growing number of Hispanic families in the United States,” said Jake Samour, the Federation’s President. He went on to recall that a “great number of our members constantly ask about the growing need to serve the Hispanic population better in their parishes and dioceses, and we are pleased to satisfy this need having a Hispanic Bishop as our link in creating the new Federation.”

For his part, Mike Day, outgoing President of the NACFLM said that this “is a new and promising link not only for the Hispanic community but for all leaders of marriage and family life pastoral care that serve them,” and he concluded by saying that “the Federation will be committed to the creation of networks and the development of its members through effective pastoral practices and innovative models of evangelization, catechesis, and ministry with Hispanic married couples and families of all cultural experiences and state of the society.”

The President of the National Catholic Network of Hispanic Youth Pastoral Care, Adriana Visoso, stressed that they support “this new foundation enthusiastically, given that we are convinced that the only way to renew society and the Church is in an integrated way — with young people and adults living thoroughly united –, the missionary and synodal option.”

Members of the Federation’s Founding Committee

 A Founding Committee has been established, whose duty will be to define the Federation’s next steps, including its Board of Directors.  They are Jake Samour, Hispanic representative of the NACFLM and President of the Federation, Diocese of Wichita; three members of the Board of Directors of the NACFLM: Mike Day, its President, Diocese of Saint Augustine; Ed Hopfner, Archdiocese of San Francisco, and Socorro Truchan, Diocese of Kalamazoo. Other members of the NACFLM that form part of the Founding Committee are Carla Ferrando-Bowling, Archdiocese of Washington; Mario Martinez, diocese of San Bernardino; Lucia Luzondo, Archdiocese of Atlanta and Dora Tobar, representative of NCADDHM, diocese of Lafayette, Indiana. The external members of the mentioned Committee are Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, Hispanic Affairs, USCCB; Dominic Lombardi, Executive Director of the Commission for the Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth, USCCB; Julia Dezelski, Associate Director of Marriage and the Family, USCCB and Adriana Visoso, President of the National Catholic Network of Hispanic Youth Pastoral Care. Bishop Jorge Rodriguez, Auxiliary of Denver, is the Federation’s episcopal link.

For additional information on the Federation for Hispanic Family Pastoral Care, including how to become a member, contact its President, Jake Samour: [email protected]

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester