Second National Gathering of Friars in Hispanic Ministry Announced

Maria Hayes Friar News

BURLINGTON, Wis. — Franciscan friars from the seven U.S. provinces are invited to the second national gathering of OFM friars in Hispanic ministry.

This year’s “Juntos Como Hermanos — Together as Brothers” gathering will take place at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate from Oct. 6 to 8. Friars involved in Hispanic ministry will have the opportunity to share their experience, strength and hope for the future.

Holy Name Province friars minister to traditionally underserved Hispanic communities in Wilmington, Del.; Silver Spring, Md.; New York City; Durham, N.C.; Philadelphia; Anderson, S.C.; Triangle, Va.; and Butler, Camden, Long Beach Island, Paterson and Pompton Lakes, N.J. Last year, four friars attended Juntos Como Hermanos: Erick López, OFM, and Jacek Orzechowski, OFM, of Silver Spring; Juan Turcios, OFM, of Camden, and Gonzalo Torres-Acosta, OFM, of Pompton Lakes.

“The reality in the United States is that there is an increasing number of Hispanic people in and outside of the Church,” Gonzalo said after last year’s meeting. “In 2013, one in three Catholics are Hispanic, and one in two Catholics under 30 years of age is Hispanic. The number of Latino youth and young adults in our ministries is growing.

“But there is also an increasing influence from other Christian denominations, as well as those who don’t have a religion, which is loosening ties to the Catholic faith,” he added. “Multiculturalism in the United States has had a unique and powerful impact on the ministry of the Church, especially Hispanic ministry, yet only three percent of priests are Hispanic. There is a lack of resources and an inadequate response from our Church. Faithfulness to our Franciscan values and charisma calls us to respond to this urgent need.”

Friars looking for more information or who wish to make a reservation should contact Gonzalo by email or by calling 347-213-7418.

Over recent years, the Province has increased focus on Hispanic culture. Two Encuentro Franciscano events and a vocation retreat for Latino men at Holy Name College, Silver Spring, Md., among other activities, have been held. A list of HNP’s Hispanic ministries can be found on the Provincial website.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.