As I mentioned in my last entry, I spent some time earlier this month at the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) in San Antonio, leading a workshop in collaboration with Dr. Arturo Chavez, the president of MACC. The workshop focused on ministry with Latino youth and young adults, and the participants were comprised primarily of seminarians from Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans, as well as recently-hired directors and associates in Hispanic Ministry from several dioceses across the country. Here’s a photo of some of the participants engaged in dialogue with their fellow students and peers in ministry:
Along a similar vein, I met with a group of parish youth ministry leaders from the Diocese of San Jose to talk about the challenges of youth ministry in culturally diverse parishes. This workshops was more informal and conversational, addressing topics such as how many youth groups, the social and cultural challenges faced by the children of immigrants, economic diversity among the families, and some demographic pointers about cultural diversity in the diocese of San Jose.
Fe y Vida is often called upon to provide this kind of presentation in dioceses and for pastoral organizations across the country, and we have developed a workshop process that can be adapted to local needs, ranging in time from 3 hours to two days. In general, the workshop takes the form of several large-group presentations, each followed by small-group discussions. The small-group reflections and experiences are then shared in the large group so that everyone can learn and benefit from the wisdom of their peers in ministry.
The structure of a typical workshop
Like most of Fe y Vida’s leadership formation, we have found that following the Pastoral Circle (being, seeing, judging, acting, evaluating, celebrating) provides a very helpful structure to engage leaders in a process to better understand and to improve their pastoral outreach to young people in parishes and schools. Specifically, with regard to Latino/a young people, the workshop might be organized along the following structure or something similar:
- Being: Taking time in prayer to become aware of who we are as leaders in ministry, called and gifted by God, with particular experiences that shape our perception of the world around us.
- Seeing: Looking at the demographics of young Catholics in the area and the lived experiences of young Latinos in various settings: at home, at school or work, in the parish, in the larger local community, and in relation to their culture of origin.
- Judging: Examining and reflecting on Church teaching regarding ministry with young Latinos and in culturally diverse settings, especially Renewing the Vision (the U.S. Bishops’ framework for Catholic youth ministry), the Conclusions of the First National Encuentro for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry (published by the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana), and Welcoming the Stranger Among Us: Unity in Diversity (the U.S. Bishops’ letter on the pastoral care of immigrants and ethnic groups).
- Acting: Critically analyzing the models and structures for youth and young adult ministry in parishes and schools, out of which comes a vision for expanding youth ministry in response to local pastoral needs.
- Evaluating: Providing feedback to the presenter so that the workshop may continually improve for other audiences.
- Celebrating: Closing the workshop with prayer and social time in thanksgiving to our God who continually opens doors for personal and professional growth in ministry.
If you are interested in discussing how this workshop could fit the need for continuing formation in your diocese, please contact us at any time. Also, if you have enjoyed reading this post, please take a moment to share it with others below or write us a note. You are invited to send us your name and email address by using the form in the left-hand column of this page, so that we can keep you informed with our latest updates. As always, feel free to contact us to explore how Instituto Fe y Vida’s Research and Resource Center can help you understand the pastoral needs in your community or overcome the challenges you are experiencing. ¡Paz y bien a todos!