Church understands, responds to issue of growing ethnicity in parishes

The Hispanic population in the U.S. Catholic Church is growing. We are not the only group that has grown in the last 10 years in our Church. The Asian, African and Haitian populations have also grown substancially in our U.S. Catholic Church.

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), through its Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, has recently developed and published a guide for parishes with diverse Catholic populations. "Best Practices for Shared Parishes: So That They May All Be One" is the title of the guide and is available at or by calling toll-free 800-235-8722.

In 2007, the U.S. bishops understood the growing reality that our churches were becoming more diverse. They made cultural diversity one of the top five priorities of their strategic plan. At that time they knew that the number of parishes with culturally diverse communities had substancially grown from 22 percent in 2000 to 33 percent in 2010 .

We, in this diocese, under the guidance of our bishop, have shared many of the practices in this guide. On various occassions I have heard our bishop express that if our parishes are to be vibrant places of worship and community, they have to move from maintenance to mission, to a "New Evangelization."

Last month, at the annual Catechetical Liturgical Day, Miriam Hidalgo, from the Diocese of Hartford, Ct., expressed the importance of the New Evangelization.


The committee organizing this event thought that it was important to have an Hispanic track, and they were right. The two workshops, "Invest in the Church Today" and "Pope Francis: The Man and His Message", were well received. The room was full for both workshops; all seats were taken. It was a great day of shared ideas and different cultures coming together "So That They May All Be One."

Adeline Torres is director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Gary. This column appeared in Spanish in the NWIC edition dated April 27, 2014.