Adult faith formation growing in popularity among Latinos

| Caroline Rode | July 2, 2013 | 0 Comments
Carmen Dean prays at Church of Risen Savior in Burnsville where she serves as director of Latino ministry. Photo courtesy of Carmen Dean

Carmen Dean prays at Church of Risen Savior in Burnsville where she serves as director of Latino ministry. Photo courtesy of Carmen Dean

The Latino population in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis is growing and is integral to the future of the local Church. That is why, in three of the past 11 years, Latino institutes have been offered for those who would like to receive deeper religious formation in Spanish.

Among the institutes offered are one-year training programs in pastoral leadership and biblical studies and a two-year program focusing on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The institutes meet monthly and those studying pastoral leadership are required to work in their home parishes on projects like prayer or couples groups.

One June 29 at St. Stephen in Anoka, 89 people celebrated their graduation from the biblical studies institute and 48 from the pastoral leadership program.

Estela Villagran Manancero, who serves in Latino ministry for the archdiocese, said the training offers adults formation that prepares them to better help their parish and local communities.

“That was the idea, to prepare Latinos for leadership in our society and also for the Church. So many of our coordinators in the Latino parishes are graduates from these institutes,” Manancero said.

“It shows how much the community wants to learn and how much there is a necessity for offering formation opportunities in Spanish,” Manancero said.

Learning to lead

Carmen Dean graduated from the pastoral leadership institute four years ago and is now the director of Latino ministry at Risen Savior in Burnsville.

Dean said she learned how to be a collaborative leader, being able to work with others from her community. To do so, she said “you have to know yourself.”

With about 800 attending Mass in Spanish Sunday afternoons at Risen Savior, she said the community is more like a family than a parish.

“People don’t want to leave the Church after Mass,” Dean said. “They just want to stay there, talking with the community.”

Manancero said she was impressed by how many people in the Latino community continue to attend classes, even with their busy schedules. She also sees the change that can come in 9 months.

“The people that are doing the Bible institute, they are so much more secure of themselves,” she said. “These are people that are going to homes to pray with the people and to bring the word of God to those homes and evangelize.”

Manancero said she sees the program continuing next year, with the possibility of another year of deeper biblical studies.

“The idea of formation was always on everyone’s radar’s. That’s what we needed. That’s what the community needs,” she said.

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Category: Local News