In his apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit, Pope Francis wrote, “…it is always better to live the faith together and to show our love by living in community and sharing with other young people our affection, our time, our faith and our troubles. The Church offers many different possibilities for living our faith in community, for everything is easier when we do it together.”
This beautifully captures one essential factor in honoring, engaging, and celebrating with our Hispanic brothers and sisters: community.
“We are the community; the community is us. We are the Church, the Church is us,” wrote Dr. Hosffman Ospino in his recent report Ministry with Young Hispanic Catholics: Towards a Recipe for Growth and Success. “The communal self-understanding serves young Hispanic Catholics as assurance that they are not alone, especially when facing adversities in a society that does not always embrace them or fails to understand their multifaceted experience.
And this is not limited to youth, as Hosffman states, “A deep-seated sense of community is at the heart of the Hispanic Catholic imagination.”
So how can Catholic parishes and dioceses emphasize community with Hispanics in their parishes? Here are five simple things you can do during Hispanic Heritage Month.
- Invite the parish to pray a novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe for the intention of Hispanic and Latino families everywhere. This can be a live or virtual event. Consider starting on October 7 to end on October 15 to close out the month-long celebration.
- Ask a Hispanic family to share their Catholic experience, how they practice the faith as a family, and some cultural traditions they enjoy. Have someone take a video of their talk and post it on your social media to extend the reach.
- Gather for a pot-luck fiesta that celebrates Hispanic music and food. You might decide to make this open to the public as a demonstration of your parish commitment to serving the Hispanic community.
- Highlight Hispanic saints in the bulletin, and ask for their intercession as a parish.
- Teach the parish to pray the Sign of the Cross in Spanish and use it in Mass. En el nombre del Padre, y del Hijo, y del Espíritu Santo. Amén.
These are ideas you can use during Hispanic Heritage Month, but they are really appropriate for any time of year, to welcome and nurture our Hispanic Catholic brothers and sisters.
Did You Know?
Hispanic Heritage month is celebrated from September 15 to October 15. Why? Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and El Salvador celebrate their independence on September 15, and Mexico celebrates its independence on the 16th, the day after the “Cry of Dolores” launching the war for independence from Spain.