Catholic Herald Staff
After three years of preparation, Phase II of the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry will be revealed Sept. 14.
Fr. Javier Bustus, Vicar for Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, describes the plan as a comprehensive, collaborative approach to assessing and addressing the needs of the Hispanic Catholic population of southeastern Wisconsin.
More than that, he said, it’s intended to illustrate that Hispanic Ministry is not an isolated ministry of the archdiocese, but a ministry “of everybody.”
“This time, we incorporated all or most of the offices from our central offices of the archdiocese — offices like Catholic education and the John Paul II Center, marriage and family, the seminary and vocations office, the diaconate formation program — these all were involved in the process of putting together the plan,” he said.
Phase II seeks to assess the needs of the Hispanic population of Catholics in the Archdiocese, increase parish access to resources related to Hispanic Ministry and Catholic education, continue and improve strategies from Phase I (released in 2012) that were considered successful and integrate directives and concerns of the V Encuentro (a national initiative which the Archdiocese of Milwaukee was heavily involved in) and the Archdiocesan Synod priorities.
It does this, explained Fr. Bustos, by utilizing a “see-judge-act” methodology. The first section of the plan consists of a collection of data, listed by deanery and zip code, that illustrates the reality of the Hispanic Catholic population in southeastern Wisconsin. With more than 230,000 Hispanic Catholics and 32 parishes, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee serves as many Catholics as a small Latin American diocese.
“We were able to gather existing data and also to collect data that wasn’t previously available, from parishes and priests involved in Hispanic Ministry,” he said. “We were able to go deep in the understanding of Hispanic ministry and the Hispanic population in general.”
For instance, he continues, the plan reveals that the Milwaukee southeast deanery, which includes the South Side, is home to about 64,000 Hispanic Catholics served by 11 parishes. “That’s a lot of Hispanics per parish,” he said. “We have other deaneries where the math is even more alarming.”
Milwaukee’s southwest deanery, which includes West Allis, Franklin and Hales Corners, is home to about 13,000 Hispanic Catholics. “We don’t have one church serving Hispanics in that deanery,” he said. And in Racine, St. Patrick Parish is the only parish serving the city’s 14,000 Hispanics. A similar situation exists in Kenosha.
Part II of the plan is a reflection of that reality and the needs of the people. Part III is a strategic plan for those needs — “making priorities after we actually understand the reality,” said Fr. Bustos. Seven areas are explored in this section: parish planning and lay ecclesial movements, lay leadership formation, Catholic education, child and youth ministry, social justice, marriage and family, and finally vocations.
The plan reveals that the Hispanic Catholics of the archdiocese are a “significantly young” population, said Fr. Bustos. Their likelihood of being married is higher than the national average, they are blessed with many children and they experience “significant social issues, especially with immigration.”
The plan details the creation of the Institute for Lay Leadership Formation, which will work in collaboration with the St. Clare Center for Catholic Life to train lay leaders in Spanish. “We need more people, whether they are lay leaders, deacons, religious or priests,” he said.
The plan also calls for increased support for marriages, the fostering of a culture that focuses on priestly and religious vocations and greater educational support for Catholic school families who are Spanish-speaking.
“My hope is that we can get everybody excited about this plan so we can all somehow participate and make a real change in our society,” he said.
The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Mary Mother of the Church Pastoral Center (3501 S. Lake Drive) with Archbishop Jerome E. Listecki celebrating Mass at 9 a.m. and the keynote speech by Sr. Norma Pimentel, the director of Catholic Charities for the Diocese of El Paso, Texas.