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

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tory of the basilica through the intercession of Mary. The Encuentro always has ended with a festive Eucharistic celebration. At this particular Encuentro the Mass celebrated by the bishop was especially festive. It was the first time that so many Hispanics had gathered in one place in the diocese. Over 1,200 people attended at Good Counsel Church. It was a moment of true conversion for everyone. It was a time when many Hispanics realized'that they were part of the Church in Arkansas. For the bishop, too, it was an important moment. After 88 Taco sales after Sunday Masses help raise needed funds for con" struction projects in parishes that serve the Hispanic communities. J ioners. He has committed funding for Spanish-speaking sisters and priests to minister to the people. He has promulgated a diocesa pastoral plan for Hispanic rriin" istry. He also has encouraged Hispanics to be a part of the life of the Church, especially encourag" ing vocations among the people. The bishop has done all of this without speaking Spanish. one must wonder what is his secret. It must be the Irish charm that is hard to resist, What he has communicated to Hispanics in Arkansas is that they are part of the Church and that the Church is part of them. That message has been heard by rn Y Hispanic and non_Hispaflic Arkansans. That message has given hope and taught people, like Roberto Martinez, that the most precious possession he had all along, his faith. Mass the bishop stayed to talk with Roberto Martinez and me. In that moment, he said something profound. "These people are not a problem for us. They are a bless- ing for us," he said. Once the bishop was able to see the gift the Hispanic presence was to the Church in Arkansas, ministry to and with the Hispanics began to really grow. The bishop has committed himself to Hispanic ministry and Father Sea#Friend is tl made it a part of the fabric of the of St. Barbara Church Church life in Arkansas. He has and Foreman, Hope done this by encouraging pastors to make their parishes open and He is the former welcoming to Hispanic parish-director. Arkansas Cathali: _ d '11