Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
October 24, 1998     Arkansas Catholic
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October 24, 1998
 

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Booths at Encuentro afford Iispanics an opportunity to pick up information explaining their faith, basic health and hygiene, immigration and social events of interest. branch office in Springdale for the Paany Hispanics of Northwest &kansas. In January 1996, Bishop IcI)onald published the diocesan Pastoral letter "The Immigrants in Our Midst," recalling that the ChUrch in Arkansas is largely the result of previous waves of immi- gration like the current wave from latin America. The letter called on the parishes of the diocese and on illdividual Catholics to open their hearts and welcome "those whom %d is sending us from afar:' The Hispanics, it said, "have brought to our Church of Arkansas new gifts of grace to add to the gifts God blessed us with in previous waves of immigrantsf' Hispanic immigration, chiefly from Mexico, has continued to grow. My guess is that the Hispanic total is now 40,000- 60,000 people in the diocese. If this is so, then Hispanics now con- stitute about one-third of the Catholics in Arkansas. Yet it is obvious that our ministry, although it has grown, lags far behind the pastoral need. Only eight priests of the diocese minis- ter to Hispanics, in the sense that they preside at Mass in Spanish. Not all of these can preach or hear confessions in Spanish, and this leaves the diocese very weak in these essential ministries. Fortunately, 12 priests not of the diocese - members of reli- gious orders, missionaries, and priests from other dioceses - are also working either partly or entirely with Hispanics. Without their help, Hispanic ministry in Arkansas would be crippled. Bishop McDonald has been eager to receive the help of quali- fied priests from outside the dio- cese. All seminarians now study Spanish, and the diocesan voca- tions office is trying to nur- ture vocations to the priest- hood among young Hispanics. However, it is obvious that for our future needs we must develop more knowledge of Spanish and Father Eduardo Ortega, Chancel- lor of the Diocese of Brownsville, Texas discusses the Bible during Encuentro. October 24, 1998 81