Bridge Builders

The growing cultural diversity of the Church in the United States has emerged as a top theme during the ongoing global Synodal process, particularly how the Church welcomes, supports, and includes in decision-making Catholics of different races and cultures and how it addresses issues of historic and systemic racism. 

The Synodal process that the Catholic Church began in 2021 invites us to understand, with a renovated vision, the world in which the Church operates and what weighs upon the hearts and minds of the People of God. Being missionary disciples meeting the people of God in the peripheries, ministries, parishes, and dioceses is a call for all Catholics. 

Leadership Roundtable served as a collaborator with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Vatican on the diocesan phase of the Synod. Just days before our 2022 Catholic Partnership Summit in September, the USCCB released the results of the Synod in the U.S., allowing the leaders gathered to discuss the many issues raised by the People of God. Our Summit facilitated many key conversations that both supported and affirmed our work through the Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative to form and promote the leadership of Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the Church. 

Leadership Roundtable staff continues to learn as we accompany Hispanic/Latino leaders in their formation and had the opportunity to share these learnings at the annual convention of the National Association of Hispanic Priests (ANSH). Andrea Blanco, program manager of the Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative spoke to more than 40 clergy gathered at the convention on the topic “Experiencia Sinodal: Perspectives from a Lay Leader in the Church,” offering perspective on the work of Leadership Roundtable to listen and engage with Hispanic/Latino priests that serve the growing and flourishing Catholic Hispanic community in the United States. 

During 2022, Leadership Roundtable also participated in the 6th Hispanic Ministry National Congress, Raíces y Alas-Roots and Wings: Prophetic Voices, Be Bridges for a New Era. Listening to and sharing deeply with many Hispanic/Latino leaders on the top pastoral priorities for Hispanic ministry in the United States during this gathering further affirmed the productive work accomplished throughout the Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative and its response to the pastoral leadership formation. 

In her opening keynote at the Congress, Mar Muñoz-Visoso, Executive Director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church at the USCCB, and a member of the National Advisory Committee, spoke about the importance of forming Hispanic/Latinos for leadership and the unique role the community serves in promoting unity within the Church. 

“Latino Catholics, then, are called to be architects and engineers of those bridges and roads that are necessary in the Church and in today’s society. We are already doing it, but sometimes not with the force that the times demand or in accordance with our weight and presence in this Church and in this society. It is our time to take the baton! 

For this reason, Latino Catholics in the United States also have a special responsibility, which is to help and work so that the vision of Pope Francis of a Church ‘outgoing’ that lives and operates in synodality, promoting communion, participation, and mission, and open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit that vision take root and also undertake in this pilgrim Church in the United States of America. In a way, it is our historical mission at this moment to translate his message and help the mass of this society to penetrate and ferment. Fidelity to the successor of Peter is a constitutive mark of our being Catholics.” 

This piece is an excerpt from the 2022 Latino Pastoral Leaders Report. 

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