I had a chance to sit down with several staff members from Instituto Fe Y Vida to talk about what questions the work of the symposium was raising in light of their ministry. We had an in-depth conversation about the positive progress since the previous symposium in 2007 and how significant advances are contributing to a greater common vision.
Carmen Cervantes is the Executive Director of Instituto Fe Y Vida and shared how pleased she felt that people are more open to cultural diversity and how that sensitivity leads to more productive dialogue and mutual collaboration. “There is a lot of good work to do to bring people to the level of lay ecclesial ministry” and already we have made great strides.
Also in the video are Ken Johnson-Mondragon, Director of Research and Publications; Walter Mena, Director of Programs; and Roberto Navarro from the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston and representing La Red.
Hope for the Future
Everyone expressed their hope for the future of Latino lay ecclesial ministry, citing how the chance to share stories about a different way of church leads to creating a deeper sense of unity. We are one church. We are one Body of Christ. Language and culture do not separate us but help us to more intimately know each other in Christ as a fuller expression and face of God.
Catechesis in the Farm Fields
One of the greatest challenges this group emphasized is how polarized lay ecclesial ministry can be academically and professionally for Hispanics in ministry. Many times, formal education and certification programs are not financially feasible or accessible for people who work multiple jobs to support their families. Catechesis in Latino culture often begins in base communities and Carmen noted “happens in the fields on the farms.”
There is a huge array of settings where lay ecclesial ministers are needed and we cannot expect there to be one way to educate and certify these good people who seek to share the Gospel. Use this great question posed at the end of this interview to filter your own thoughts and perceptions as you watch these videos:
How can we be church with this large spectrum of realities?
Coming Together is bilingual and divided into four parts. Take some time to listen to them all. There is much wisdom in the words of these wonderful, insightful people.