The Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative is a new service of Leadership Roundtable, generously funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. and other donors. The initiative will increase access to critical leadership development and pastoral management trainings, coaching, peer support, and pastoral mentors for Latino/a Catholic pastoral leaders – ordained and lay – as they transition to a new pastoral leadership role.
Leadership Roundtable recognizes the many gifts and talents that Hispanics/Latinos bring to the Catholic Church in the United States. We want to work alongside lay and ordained leaders, sharing our expertise in critical areas of pastoral leadership and Church management. Through Lilly Endowment’s Thriving in Ministry initiative, Leadership Roundtable has received a grant of $1 million over three years to help establish the Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative. The conclusions of the V Encuentro process demonstrated the capacity of Hispanic/Latino leaders to respond to the challenges they have experienced in their communities, as well as identify the areas where they need support. Inadequate investment in leadership development and faith formation is one of the 10 top priorities identified. Promoting best practices with Hispanic/Latinos was also identified as one of the five priorities that the body of bishops approved during their Assembly in November 2019.
This leadership development and mentorship program is aimed at supporting Hispanic/Latino pastoral leaders in their parish or diocesan leadership role. Specifically, Leadership Roundtable’s goal over the next three years is to increase access to critical leadership development and pastoral management training, coaching, peer support, and pastoral mentors for cohorts of Hispanic/Latino pastoral leaders. We want to work alongside lay and ordained leaders, sharing our expertise in critical areas of pastoral leadership and Church management.
As part of the initiative, Leadership Roundtable has formed a national Advisory Committee of subject matter experts who will partner with Leadership Roundtable to guide the initiative. Advisory Committee members include:
- Ms. Mar Muñoz-Visoso, M.T.S., Executive Director, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Fr. Allan Figueroa Deck, SJ, S.T.D., Ph.D., Distinguished Scholar of Pastoral Theology and Latino Studies, Loyola Marymount University
- Sr. Teresa Maya, CCVI, Congregational Leader, Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word
- Mr. Darius A. Villalobos, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry
- Fr. Juan Molina, President & CEO, Mexican American Catholic College
The full time program manager for the Initiative is Andrea Blanco, supported by the entire Leadership Roundtable staff.
Leadership Roundtable concluded its inaugural cohort with the Diocese of Joliet in Illinois in November 2021. Currently, there are active cohorts in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida and the Diocese of Austin in Texas.
The Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative will continue to expand in 2022. In all of our projects, Leadership Roundtable looks to collaborate broadly and we will keep dioceses informed of what is learned in this initiative, which might be of benefit in ongoing formation efforts.