Washington (Agenzia Fides) - The "Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States of America", from September 15 to October 15, is presenting speeches and proposals for recognition both by the Church and by civil society. "This year, Hispanic Heritage Month is especially meaningful as the Catholic Church in the United States is reaping the fruits of a four-year process called the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry", said Mgr. Arturo Cepeda, Auxiliary Bishop of Detroit and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. "Both the Catholic Church and American society must acknowledge the historic and current contributions of Hispanic and Latino leadership in all spheres of church and society", he added.
The National Encounters recognized how Hispanics and Latins have been woven into the very fabric of the Church and society in the United States for many generations. On the occasion of these latest events, a significant demographic research was conducted and aggregated on the presence of Latinos in the Church and in U.S. society. Some of the findings include the fact that from 1990 to 2016, the U.S. Hispanic/Latino Catholic population increased by about 13.7 million, while the overall U.S. Catholic population only increased by about 3.6 million. An additional finding was that the percentage of U.S. Hispanics/Latinos who were Catholic in 2016 was 52%, and just over half of the Catholics under age 50 were Hispanic/Latino.
In order to help highlight this, the USCCB’s Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs will be conducting a national V Encuentro event virtually on October 9 and 10. "It is our hope that this event will help participants to visualize the future of Hispanic/Latino ministry in each diocese". "The V Encuentro process has showcased the deep faith and commitment of Hispanics and Latinos to the Church", said Mgr. Cepeda. "At the same time, it has demonstrated their entrepreneurship, profound awareness and care about the social ailments of our society, as well as their strong commitment to social justice, including a wide range of life issues. Hispanics, and in particular Hispanic Catholics, are determined to be part of the solution to the current reality: the COVID-19 pandemic, the call for racial justice, and the continuing impact of global climate change", he concluded. (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 24/9/2020)