Strangers No Longer: Hispanic Ministry at Holy Spirit

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Munoz, Héctor
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
The pastoral concern I am addressing is the overall health of the worshipping community in Holy Spirit church. We have a divided parish, not because of a crisis, but because of ethnic differences. I’m addressing this by focusing on two problems. One problem is the lack of unity between the Anglo and Hispanic communities. These groups of people are ethnically, culturally, and socioeconomically different, yet share one faith and worship in one House, the Church of the Holy Spirit in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Anglo group is comprised of longtime parishioners and makes three fourths of the parish families. The Hispanic group is made up of people who have been members of the parish for less than four years. We have several masses for the Anglo group and one mass at 1:30 PM in Spanish for the Hispanic group. No Anglos join the Hispanic mass or events. Some, but not many Hispanics, come to English mass or activities. Each group is missing out in the richness the other offers. The other related problem I’m addressing is to determine how to improve the church ministry to Hispanics. The Hispanic community is large and devoted, but lacks adequate resources. They receive Catechism for First Communion, Penance and Reconciliation, and Confirmation. They also receive Baptism preparation talks. However, the Catechists are ill prepared, there is nothing for adults, there is no youth group, and no connection with things like church committees and volunteer services. In selecting which pastoral project I should focus on I collaborated with Mrs. X, the church’s DRE, Coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, and my sponsor. She suggested several projects such as doing something for adult formation or youth group for the Hispanic community. One day, inspired by the fact that there was no mention of deceased Hispanic members in the church banners during All Souls Day, I approached Mrs. X with the idea of doing something to foster unity between both communities. She quickly agreed, and this pastoral project was initiated.