2013 proved to be an incredible year for Hispanic Ministry in the U.S. and across the globe.  Read below to find out about the top ten moments that impacted Hispanic Ministry in the U.S. and view animated gif reactions to each.

10.  National Convocation of Emerging Catholic Leadership in U.S. Hispanic Ministry gathers at Boston College

On July 29-31, 2013 Dr. Hosffman Ospino from Boston College convened emerging U.S. Hispanic Ministry leaders.  The goal of this convocation was to learn more about current projects that are bound to transform the way in which Hispanic ministry is done. I was honored to be invited to present our website ministry!  One of the best experiences was knowing that we are not alone in our endeavors and the collaboration that has surfaced because of this gathering!

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 9.  Petra Alexander receives Diocesan Director of Hispanic Ministry Award.

If you don’t know Petra Alexander, you should.  She is one of the most amazing Latina women in ministry.  From creative prayer rituals, a radio show, fighting for immigrant rights, publishing fantastic resources, and her every day diocesan ministry, she is certainly an example to us women and all of us in Hispanic Ministry.  To read more about Petra, her ministry, and her award, click here.


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 8.  Rudy Vargas recognized for his work in Hispanic Ministry

Rudy! Rudy Rudy! Mr. Rudy Vargas has a long and rich history in Hispanic Ministry and is currently a Doctor of Ministry Candidate at Barry University while working for the University of Notre Dame promoting Catholic education in New York.  We are so happy that Rudy received the William Sadlier Dinger Award for Ministry in the Hispanic Community in August of this year. We have always admired and respected Rudy not only as our classmate and peer in ministry, but also as a friend.   Rudy has a deep spiritual strength and is someone who is always honest, challenging (in an awesome, I need to be challenged way), and  fun.  After chatting with Rudy, you feel like a million bucks.  To read more about Rudy, his ministry, and  his award, click here.

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Sorry, but I couldn’t resist throwing in a slow clap from the Movie Rudy.



 7.  Catholic Extension awards José and Digna López the 2013 LUMEN CHRISTI AWARD

José and Digna López are an amazing power couple, who for years have served at the Diocese of Stockton working with youth, campesinos, and the Hispanic/Latino community.  We love their Quinceañera formation program and have always appreciated José’s knowledge of our Memoria Historica (Historical Memory) at a national level and within Region XI (California and Nevada). To read more about José and Digna’s award click here.

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6.  NCCHM, NCADDHM and FIP offer a joint conference on Pastoral en Conjunto

In a historic move towards collaboration/communion in mission, the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry, the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry, and the Federation of Pastoral Institutes offered  a joint conference on August 26-28, 2013 in Las Vegas, NV titled “Pastoral en Conjunto.”  This marked a renewed effort to work collaboratively and a new beginning as they gear up to jointly coordinate the Raices y Alas conference in San Antonio, TX in 2014, along with LaRed Nacional de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana.



5.  Announcement of the 5th National Encuentro in U.S. Hispanic Ministry

It has been over 13 years since Encuentro 2000 in Los Angeles, CA and the times have truly changed  for Hispanic Ministry in the U.S. (demographically, technologically, and generationally).  At the Pastoral de Conjunto conference in Las Vegas, Bishop Arturo Cepeda announced the 5th National Encuentro to take place in 2016.  Let’s get out there and start prepping. There’s lots of work to be done!

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 4.  World Youth Day takes place in Brazil officiated by first Latin American Pope  

More than 3.5 million people participated in World Youth Day Rio 2013 with 427,000 pilgrims registered, from 175 countries.  For many of our young Hispanic/Latino U.S Catholics, it was an incredible experience to travel to South America, but most important, to witness the first Latin American Pope officiate Mass and services in Brazil. During his visit to Brazil for Youth Day, Pope Francis visited the shrine of Aparecida, which was the location of the last gathering of the Conference of Latin American Bishops (CELAM).  Echoing the evangelical and missionary spirit of the Aparecida document that Latin American Bishops and Pope Francis authored in 2007, in an impromptu meeting with young people of Argentina, Pope Francis said,

“I would like to say something. What do I expect as a consequence of the Youth Day? I expect a mess. There will be one. There will be a mess here in Rio? There will be! But I want a mess in the dioceses! I want people to go out! I want the Church to go out to the street! I want us to defend ourselves against everything that is worldliness, that is installation, that is comfortableness, that is clericalism, that is being shut-in in ourselves. The parishes, the schools, the institutions, exist to go out! If they don’t go out, they become NGOs, and the Church can’t be an NGO.”

Wait..What?  Did he just say that?
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3.  Liberation theology emerges from the shadows  

Historically, liberation theology has played an important role within U.S. Hispanic/Latino Theology, noteably influencing the U.S. Bishop’s pastoral letter “Economic Justice for All” and the methodology of the Encuentro process (See-Judge- Act).  After years of chilly relations between liberation theologians and the Vatican, liberation theology seems to be stepping out of the shadows.  In September, the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano published an interview with Father Gustavo Gutierrez, father of liberation theology.  They also included an article written by Gutierrez and two articles praising his work (one of which was written by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop Gerhard L. Müller).  Pope Francis was said to have privately met with Gutierrez and asked previously silenced theologian, Leonardo Boff, to send him his writings.  As Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Francis noted both the positive and negative aspects of liberation theology and has not been shy about critiquing facets of it. With Pope Francis’ emphasis on serving the poor, is liberation theology’s preferential option for the poor front and center to the Church’s mission? Only time will tell.  Either way, we are happy to see a dialogue taking place.

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 2.  Pope Francis removes the block on the beatification of Archbishop Oscar Romero, from El Salvador.

Archbishop Oscar Romero became the champion of the poor and human rights during El Salvador’s Civil War.  Romero was assassinated on March 24, 1980 after asking for international intervention to protect those being killed by government forces.  His beatification was said to have stalled under Pope Benedict XVI, but in April of this year, it was reported that Pope Francis removed the block on his beatification that would then move him closer towards canonization.  For many Salvadoran Catholics in the U.S. who immigrated during the civil war, this step  most definitely touched their hearts. I was lucky to travel to El Salvador about 6 years ago and it was an incredible experience to visit his tomb, the chapel where he was martyred, and to hear the stories of those who were moved and encouraged by his words of support for the poor.  We offer a high five blessing to this one!

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 1.  The First Latin American Pope is elected


On March 13, 2013 Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected as the 266th Pope of the Catholic Church.  We can’t even begin to describe what it is like to have a Latin American as Pope. Most important, it has been a true gift to listen and observe the way he preaches and lives out the Gospel. Drawing from the example of one of the most beloved saints, Pope Francis has also been embraced and is loved by so many including atheists, the media, and the LGTB community.  Congrats to Pope Francis for being named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year!  Pope Francis was also just named by men’s magazine Esquire as its Best Dressed Man of 2013. The surprising and unusual decision was made due to the simplicity of his style signaling a new era of change for the Catholic Church.


This gif reaction is a three-parter  because it was so AMAZING!!!!!

A.  When it was announced that he was from Argentina…Historic!!

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  B.  When it was announced he was a Jesuit……Double Historic!!!

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C. When it was announced he took the name Francis….Triple Historic!!  

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My spirituality is Franciscan, so I got choked up.  Yes, I cried.  I cried a lot.  There’s no shame in that.


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Pope Francis also made Barbara Walters’  Most Fascinating People of 2013.  Watch this great video below.

I’m sure there are many great moments I may have missed, so please feel free to share them in the comments below!

Happy New Year Everyone! We hope 2014 brings you much joy, love, and peace and that our loving God may continue to abundantly bless you.  We look forward to accompanying you in the year to come.

2013 © Patty Jimenez.  All Rights Reserved.

Gifs stolen from everywhere- Tumblr, Giphy,GifSoup…..and Google.  Gracias!