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Fr. Claudio Diaz, Jr. is the director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics in the Department of Evangelization, Catechesis and Worship.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Latino Catholics in Chicago; One Church, One Body of Christ

Latino Catholics have been called to the task of contributing with their faith, devotions, religious tradition, wisdom and sense of mission for our church. In 1910 the U. S. census revealed the presence of 1,672 foreign born Mexicans in Chicago. At least for the past 50 years the Latino Catholics have been working in bringing to our local church their contribution as people of faith in Jesus Christ and in his church intentionally. Currently, out of a total population of 2,342,000 of Catholics in the Archdiocese of Chicago, 1,200,000 are of Latino origin. In other words, officially 44% of the current population of Catholics in Lake and Cook counties is Hispanic. Out of 357 communities of faith and 10 missions more than 140 have Hispanic ministry in different levels. Some of the blessings are the fact that we have an Office for Hispanic Catholics, three vicariate coordinators, around 170 Hispanic permanent deacons and around 174 priests involved in Hispanic ministry. We have a director of Hispanic communications, a director for Hispanic young adults, and representation as Latino Catholics at the Cardinal’s advisory committee along with 42 archdiocesan Hispanic priests, one Hispanic Bishop and a committed group of parish leaders with lots of enthusiasm in working for the Kingdom of God.

At the archdiocesan banquet Noche de Gala, which will take place this Friday July 24th at the Hilton Chicago Hotel on Michigan Ave., we will acknowledge the work of many for Hispanic Ministry. Many people, Latinos and non-Latinos, work very hard to promote a Church that is inclusive, vibrant and integrated. This is not about creating a parallel church. This is about contributing to the Catholic faith with the richness of the Latino community, who they are and what they bring to the table of the Lord. In such the image of the Body of Christ is most fitting: diverse, different parts and functions at the service of one God and one Church. There are many challenges on several levels; to create an effective pastoral plan for teenagers who live language wise and culturally “in between worlds”, to fortify the bridges between Spanish and English speaking realities of our local Church, to enhance the team work between the leadership and the laity, the presence of provincialism and racism, pastoral inertia and others. These are certainly great challenges but Catholics have never run away from “a good fight”. We have great heroes, courageous men and women who were willing to give testimony to the world with their own lives about their faith. Let us continue marching towards the Lord with the awareness that our church has many faces, many accents, many melodies and that they all point at Jesus who died for us. Let us therefore work together so that our Church may continue growing and giving glory to God.

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Comments

Thursday, July 23, 2009 9:03 AM

Fr. Claudio,

We have many things to be grateful for in hispanic ministry. I have seen it flourish so much throughout the years. As a young hispanic born and raised in Chicago I have seen the growth first hand. The last few years have shown even more poignant. Thanks to great dedication and leadership like yours, and so many others, I feel like I actually have a voice and identity within the Church. Programs and ministries like Casa Jesus, Pastoral Juvenil, and Justice for Immigration give me hope of even further development and growth of hispanic ministry. If I've never said it to you before, gracias. Thank you for accepting the call to your vocation and to this ministry. Thank you for being humble and faithful in all you do. Thank you for being you. I pray for you always.

Lastly, I would be remiss if I didn't also thank our pastor Francis Cardinal George, and all our bishops who are also very dedicated to their vocation and ministry. So, muchas gracias a todos. May the Almighty God and Father continue to direct your path and fill you with His love and grace.

Your sister in Christ,
Elsie

Elsie A.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009 10:22 AM

Hi Fr. Claudio! I am one of your biggest fans! As an American who has spent my whole life living and loving the Hispanic language, culture and peoples, I am most proud of the achievements of my Hispanic Catholic brothers and sisters here in the Arch. You and they have done a wonderful job of ministering to the people, caring for their needs and concerns, really being Jesus in the Eucharist to all, understanding the social and cultural diversity in helping to bring all Hispanics and American Catholics together as brothers and sisters. I personally wish to become very actively involved in whatever I can do to help immigration reform and social justice issues. This is my goal--to stand by you---mi hermano en Jesus y al lado de todos mi hermanos y hermanas. Que la paz, el respeto mutuo y la fraternidad sean los lazos que nos unan para siempre. I love all my Hispanic family here in the Archdiocese of Chicago! Que Dios bendiga todas tus buenas obras querido Padre Claudio!!!

Carol B.

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