$15 Million National Hispanic Leadership Initiative Announced

$15 Million National Hispanic Leadership Initiative Announced


CHICAGO, Oct. 11, 2012 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — In the midst of Hispanic Heritage
Month, Catholic Extension today announced the launch of the national Hispanic
Lay Leadership Initiative, a three-year commitment of strategic investment by
Catholic Extension to fund the salaries of 100 new Hispanic lay leaders in poor
mission dioceses across the U.S. The initiative is aimed at positively impacting
Hispanic ministry in the U.S. Catholic Church.

Nearly 40 percent of U.S. Catholics are Hispanic*, and some predict that as
soon as 2020, Hispanics could be the majority in the Catholic Church**. However,
less than 10 percent of paid leadership in the Church is Hispanic. The Hispanic
Lay Leadership Initiative is designed to address this growing need by building
pastoral capacity in dioceses where Hispanics are present in significant numbers
through creating new lay leadership positions. These new leaders will be able to
reach out to thousands of Hispanic Catholics across the country.

This initiative is designed not as a temporary solution to address an
immediate crisis in human resources for Hispanic ministries, but to serve as a
catalyst for a more substantial leadership investment in Hispanic ministry on
the part of Catholic dioceses. 

This is a $15,000,000 initiative over the three-year period. The cost of the
positions will be split equally between Catholic Extension and the participating
dioceses. Catholic Extension will invest in Hispanic lay leadership in its
initial years. At the conclusion of the three-year partnership, dioceses will be
responsible for sustaining the position on their own.

“To build a solid future for the Catholic faith in the U.S., we must support
Hispanic ministry in the Church,” said Catholic Extension President Father Jack
Wall. “At Catholic Extension, we’ve been working on a dream—to have this
wonderful initiative of hiring 100 skilled Hispanic lay leaders for the future
of our Church in our country. Today, we think that dream is becoming a reality.
We’ve had over 70 of the 91 mission dioceses show great interest in this
initiative, which means that we will be supporting a new generation of pastoral
leaders that will build faith, inspire hope and ignite change and serve as the
hands and feet of Christ to a world in need.”

Leaders throughout the U.S. echo the need for support for Hispanic Catholics
in today’s Catholic Church, including Dr. Arturo Chavez, president and CEO of
Mexican American Catholic College. Dr. Chavez has over 28 years of teaching and
ministry experience, and is a supporter of the Hispanic Lay Leadership
Initiative. He spoke recently at a Catholic Extension conference bringing
together many of the newly hired Hispanic lay leaders from across the

“There are many gifts and many opportunities that this growing population
offers the church and the country,” said Dr. Chavez. “However, only seven
percent of active bishops are Hispanic and only six percent of all Catholic
priests. We are now beginning to show a growth in Hispanic seminarians. So we’re
grateful for that. And there is a very promising growth in the number of
permanent deacons. But the greatest challenge today is that only eight percent
of the estimated 30,000 lay ecclesial ministers nationally are Hispanic.”

Tim Matovina, professor at the University of Notre Dame and author of
Latino Catholicism, underlines the necessity to address this need through
faith formation.

“How we pass on the faith to the children and grandchildren of Latino
immigrants is the leading indicator of where the Church will be 30 years from
now. This is not a priority just for Hispanic ministry, the entire Catholic
Church needs to be involved in it,” said Matovina.

Visit the Catholic Extension website for more information on the Hispanic Lay Leadership Initiative.

*Source: Pew Hispanic Center

**Source: The Rising Latino Beat: A New Catholic Moment for the

About Catholic Extension

Catholic Extension uniquely contributes to the growth and vibrancy of the
church in the U.S. by strategically investing in poor mission dioceses to
unleash the power of faith that transforms hearts, lives and society. Based in
Chicago, this national organization provides funding resources to dioceses and
parishes to support programs and services investing in people, infrastructure
and ministries. This support is given based on need, as well as passion and
commitment to the growth of the Catholic faith. Since 1905, Catholic Extension
has distributed more than $500 million to communities across America. For more
information, visit http://www.catholicextension.org/.

Renae Godish
Vivid Ascent

SOURCE Catholic Extension

$15 Million National Hispanic Leadership Initiative Announced