1. Fe y Vida’s leadership formation system
sounds very sophisticated. Is it accessible to students with a limited
2. Why does Fe y Vida emphasize the
Prophets of Hope Model for ministry with young Hispanics?
3. Why are most of Fe y Vida’s programs
taught in Spanish?
4. Many of the jóvenes in my diocese
are migrant workers who may not be around to finish the course, and who
have little access to transportation. Are your programs designed to
accommodate such circumstances?
5. I have little or no budget to pay for
any formation programs. What are the costs of the programs, and what
help can you offer me?
6. What is a formation center and what are
7. How does a diocese or institution offer
Fe y Vida’s programs?
8. Who should I contact for more
Vida’s Leadership Formation System sounds very sophisticated. Is it
accessible to students with a limited academic background?
The beauty of Fe y Vida’s Leadership Formation System
lies precisely in its flexibility, stemming from its holistic approach
to leadership development. Students immediately learn to recognize
their own gifts and begin to develop new ones, irrespective of their
academic background. Our students include everyone from those with
little more than primary education to priests and other professional
ministers with graduate degrees; our educational processes are designed
so that all are empowered to learn and grow according to their own
With such diverse students, it was necessary to develop
a system for qualifying the level of certification given to the
graduates of our programs. Instituto Fe y Vida follows the Certificate
Guidelines of the Federación de Institutos Pastorales
(FIP). Its Certificate Program in Pastoral Juvenil Hispana
(PJH) provides five levels of certificates, depending upon the
student’s previous pastoral-theological formation and experience:
|• Young adult leader
||Active in PJH
|• Adviser at the basic
level in PJH
||Over 22 years old and 3 years of active
participation in PJH
adviser in PJH
||Over 25 years old and 5 years of pastoral
experience at leadership level
pastoral adviser in PJH
||BA and 5 years of pastoral experience as advisers
|• Instructor at
||Vary according to each program
The Certificate Program is recognized by the Oblate
School of Theology in San Antonio, for the students graduating from the
program offered by Fe y Vida at the Christian Renewal Center. It has
been granted 9 academic credits for the BA level and 2 academic credits
for the MA level at Loyola University in Chicago, for the students
registered at that campus. Fe y Vida is open to co-certify with other
local academic institutions when offering its Certificate Program in
Fe y Vida emphasize the Prophets of Hope Model for ministry with young
The Prophets of Hope Model was designed
based on the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry,
and it takes into consideration the guidelines presented in Renewing
the Vision and Sons of Daughters of the Light, the
foundational documents from the USCCB for youth and young adult
ministry. It utilizes eight core elements that build on one another as
students advance to higher levels in the formation system to create a
sound ministry for Hispanic youth and young adults in the United States.
To learn more about the eight elements in the
Model, click here to
download a document that gives a general description of each.
most of Fe y Vida’s programs taught in Spanish?
From the beginning, it has been Fe y Vida’s
goal to develop the leadership and potential for ministry of Hispanic
youth and young adults. As a consequence, the programs particularly
target pastoral juvenil hispana, which usually serves
immigrant jóvenes and adolescents in Spanish, and
youth ministers serving Hispanic youth. The students are young adults
who want to further their human and Christian formation, grassroots
leaders, and paraprofessional or professional ministers, whose primary
language is usually Spanish.
All of the programs, with the exception of some aspects
of the Formation & Support Program and many of our workshops, are
currently taught in Spanish. The students are always welcome to speak
and write in either English or Spanish, and most of our study materials
are available in both languages. We recognize that in some dioceses the
young Hispanic population is mostly English-dominant; we are prepared
to offer our programs in English as needed, but the cost will be higher
due to the need to translate some of our materials.
the jóvenes in my diocese are migrant workers who may not be
around to finish the course, and who have little access to
transportation. Are your programs designed to accommodate such
While it is true that a large portion of the migrant
workers in the U.S. are young Hispanic immigrants, we have found from
pastoral experience that this is only a very small portion of the young
Hispanic population in most dioceses. Our programs usually require
either a full week or four to eight weekends over a period of several
months. Many of our students have made tremendous sacrifices to be able
to complete the programs because they recognize the value they are
getting, while others have arranged carpools to travel up to six hours
by car to reach the program site.
In some geographically large dioceses, the location of
each weekend session is moved to different locations around the diocese
so that the burden of travel is more evenly distributed among the
participants. Fe y Vida’s programs can be held in a variety of Catholic
institutions, including diocesan or parish facilities, universities,
and retreat houses. It is up to the local coordinator to decide the
location of each session.
In addition, each year Fe y Vida holds a national summer
program. The location varies from year to year, but typically it is
conducted at a Catholic university. The program is comprised of
multiple sessions in alternative tracks. As in the case of the local
programs, we have found that with a little support and encouragement,
the young people are very creative in making travel arrangements and
finding resources to pay for their participation.
little or no budget to pay for any formation programs. What are the
costs of the programs, and what help can you offer me?
Each program has a fee according to its level and
duration. Other expenses include: a) the instructors’ stipends, travel,
room & board; b) books and materials for the students, and c) costs
of hosting the program. Fe y Vida’s program fees are heavily subsidized
by our many philanthropic partners to make them more accessible, but
there is no getting around the other fixed costs of offering our
programs. We suggest that the diocese, the parish, and the young person
split the costs. In cases of extreme financial limitations, Fe y Vida’s
staff can recommend strategies for finding other local funding sources
to subsidize the programs.
Fe y Vida has also developed a way for dioceses that
have become formation centers to reduce their costs. There are two
types of contracts: a) Service Agreement for Beginning
Dioceses, when Fe y Vida sends most of the teaching personnel and has
primary coordinating and mentorship roles; b) License Agreement,
for advanced sites, where Fe y Vida provides the programs and
consulting services, but the teaching and the coordination is done by
a formation center and what are its advantages?
A formation center is a site or a region that offers
Instituto Fe y Vida’s programming on an ongoing basis, with several
neighboring dioceses participating. The programs at each center respond
to the leadership, pastoral, and geographical situation of the diocese,
institution, and/or region where it is based.
The advantages of formation centers are the following:
a diocese or institution offer Fe y Vida’s programs?
- Continuous program offerings regardless of the level
of stability of diocesan and parish leadership
- Ability to plan ahead and to have progressive
education, from basic to advanced
- Opportunity to have professional and peer support for
ministers and leaders in a region
- Potential to include additional programming to
respond to different pastoral needs
- Cost-effective structure where program expenses can
be divided among dioceses, parishes, universities and other
institutions, foundations, and individual donors in the region
The following process is designed to build a base of
highly skilled leaders and trainers for pastoral juvenil hispana,
and it is recommended to most dioceses, although there are exceptions
due to the pastoral circumstances of a particular diocese:
• Fe y Vida conducts an on-site Exploratory
- assess the status and approach of ministry with
Hispanic youth and young adults, and
- presents Fe y Vida’s programs to diocesan and parish
personnel whose mission includes Hispanic youth and young adults.
• The diocese offers the Initiation
Course a couple of times, or in different regions of the
• The diocese or an academic institution offers
the Certificate Program and invites neighboring
dioceses to participate. It offers Advanced Seminars to
continue the students’ formation.
• The diocese sends selected leaders to the Annual
Summer Program to complete their formation process.
• The diocese identifies alumni with the
appropriate profile to become instructors in the Initiation Course
through the training of trainers program.
• The diocese identifies local professors that can
teach in the Certificate Program as adjunct faculty with Fe y Vida’s
team. In this way it starts building a team of professional ministers
who can serve as faculty and as advisers. Eventually the diocese can
move from a Service Agreement to a License Agreement, thus reducing its
costs while maintaining the benefits of access to ongoing program
revisions and updates.
should I contact for more information?
|Director of Formation Programs
Walter F. Mena