A recent Pew research study indicates that while the Hispanic population in the US has grown more than 10X in the past decade, the percentage of Hispanics affiliated with the Catholic Church is declining. Why is this happening and how can we respond?
Dr. Hosffman Ospino, Chair of the Department of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry at Boston College, provides us some insights. All too often the answer to serving the Hispanic community is “Mass or ministry in Spanish” or bilingual Mass. This stops far short of fostering a community where Hispanic people feel they belong.
Too often our church leaders are focused on the culture and expectations of the immigrant Hispanic population. In reality, 64% of Hispanics are US born. More than 90% of those under 18 are US born. They are English speaking people who maintain their ethnic identity while also being raised in the US culture. Our parishes focus on adoration, novena and other cultural interests of the immigrant Hispanic population, while the majority of the population is looking for a rather different form of engagement in our parishes.
Another misconception is that young Hispanics will completely assimilate into a predominantly “Anglo” church culture since they are born and raised in the United States. Young Hispanics find themselves in a cultural “limbo” between the world of the immigrant culture and the assumed parish culture. Hear more in the conversation with Hosffman Ospino.