Monday, April 13, 2009

Preparatory meeting for Pastors' Conference

Frs. Shay Auerbach and Bill Rickle will be in Mexico City this week to work on preparations for a conference in November for pastors and pastoral agents from Central America, Mexico, the US and Canada. While there they will visit sites in the state of Morelos where many migrants find their way to Virginia.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Fourth Spanish Silent Directed Retreat Weekend at Faulkner, MD

Over the weekend of 16-18 January twenty young Hispanic church leaders participated in a directed silent Ignatian retreat at the Loyola Retreat House in Faulkner, MD. They came from the Archdiocese of Baltimore and the Diocese of Arlington.

This is the fourth such retreat we have offered in as many years, and we are now planning a second level silent weekend retreat for October, 2009 at the same place. Dialogue continues with diocesan leaders to work together for the spiritual formation of our future church leaders.

Retreat leaders were Dr. Dora Tobar, Matilde Álvarez, Frs. Frank Kaminski, SJ, Joe McCloskey, SJ, and Bruce Bavinger, SJ.

More pictures are available at

Friday, May 30, 2008

Conferencia Ignaciana at Mount Manresa

Eighty-one enthusiastic participants gathered for the Conferencia Ignaciana, to share, discuss and envision ways in which Ignatian spirituality is and can be exercised in the Hispanic community. The organizers, Fr. Jack Fagan, SJ, Mr. Rudy Vargas of the Northeast Pastoral Institute and board member of The Jesuit Collaborative, Sr. Veronica Mendez of Renew International and Fr. Bill Rickle of the Institute had hoped for fifty participants!

Prayer rituals, workshops (talleres), plenary sessions and focus groups combined with a beautiful setting, gracious retreat house staff and convivencia in the evenings to provide an enriching weekend for all of us. Although the primary target group was people working in Ignatian spirituality and the Hispanic community on the East Coast, participants came from other areas such as Detroit, MI; Milwaukee, WI and California.

This first ever event was such a blessing and boost for our spirits! We look forward to the future with confidence that the relationships established and the experiences shared will continue to grow. You can see a powerpoint set of pictures of the event posted on the IMCM web site by CLICKING HERE

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Our Mexican Mission: A New Hampshire Parish helps a Mexican Village

Our Mexican Mission

By Lee Alphen

St Joseph Parish, Salem, NH

Chaplain Rockingham Park, Salem, NH
A New Hampshire Parish helps a Mexican Village

The blogs describing Posada are very enlightening. Thank you so much. We typically travel to the little village we adopted south of Mexico City during Advent. The people of Colonia Benito Juarez are very rich in faith. What a blessing it is to experience Posada with them. Now I have a better understanding of the ritual.

In the late nineties Lucas, his wife Yarezmin, his father Arnulfo and cousin Eleazar came to Rockingham Park here in Salem, NH to work for the summer with the thoroughbred race horses. They were very active members of our Spanish ministry. However they never received Holy Communion at Mass. Finally I discovered they had never made their First Communion. The Priest only came a few times a year to say Mass in their Mexican village.

Shirley, a wonderful Spanish woman from St Joseph Parish in Salem became their teacher and friend. What a wonderful celebration it was when they received Jesus in the Holy Sacrament for the first time at our racetrack chapel. Peter and Kitty took them to the mall and outfitted them complete with top hats. Peter then brought them to the Mass in a limousine.

A few years later several of us were celebrating in a local restaurant and Lucas invited me to his village to visit his family and his church. Feeling like real missionary, I jumped at the opportunity and made my first trip in October, 2001.

Sitting in his parent’s house conversing with his sisters in my broken Spanish I began to tell them how their father and brother spent so much time at our Chapel. They attended Mass, prayed the Rosary, attended English classes, and our bi-weekly Free Supper. They were so in awe. Then I told them how Lucas, his wife and their Father all received Jesus in Holy Communion. Finally I remembered I had some Spanish booklets on How to Make Your First Holy Communion. Immediately they began to study.

Two months later Lucas brought his sisters to the next county to Christmas Midnight Mass where they made their First Holy Communion. Then Lucas asked the Priest to send someone to his village to teach the children. The following St Joseph’s Day 18 children made their First Holy Communion. Now the Priest goes every week to say Mass in Lucas’ parish church, St Jean de Baptiste.

From the beginning I wanted to solve the water problem. The village had no water during the dry season, February – June. It is not possible to build an economy without water. It is not possible to earn even a meager living without water. Crops, animals and even industry require water. Because there is no water, since there is no way to earn a living to support ones family, just about every family in this village has someone here in the states earning money to send home. Some were here legally, most illegally. I was determined to find a better way for these good sisters and brothers.

After several years of negotiations, planning, and fundraising, in August of 2006, Living Water International, a non-profit organization from Texas was ready to drill our well. Tim Mulville, Vic Spillman and their crew traveled three days from the Mexican border with all their well drilling equipment in tow. They drilled a fantastic well for us. Our sisters and brothers in Colonia Benito Juarez now have good, clean water year round. They are very grateful to God.

Our Pastor, Fr John Michaelowski, SJ is very supportive of our mission. Parishioners Ann Halloran and Peter Klecan help with the fundraising and collect supplies. They even give up family time before Christmas to join me on our annual pilgrimage.

We continue to help the church, one of the local schools and to work at building an economy. This year we raised money for sheep and goats for some of the families and a copy machine for the school. American Airlines gives us permission to bring six 50 pound bags each. Bibles, missalettes, statues, rosary beads, sewing machines, fabric, notions, yarn, knitting needles, personal care items, and soccer balls will excite the people of Colonia Benito Juarez this year.


It is now February 2008. We had a fantastic trip to our Mexican village in December. The people were most grateful for everything.

One day we were invited to a celebration at the school where the children acted out some traditional Mexican skits and dances. They were fantastic and the costumes they made were superb.

Later the entire village gathered around the well. It was very moving to hear the people thank God for the gift of water. Following an outline suggested by Jack Fagan, everyone had an opportunity to participate in blessing the well with the water. They were all very happy when we hung a crucifix behind the well. Imagine, we hung a crucifix on public property and everyone was happy.

Saturday we visited two chapel where we had never been before. The people gathered to pray with us and insisted on sharing refreshments with us afterwards. Each chapel has a volunteer who coordinates everything. At the 2nd chapel I taught the volunteer to use the misalettes I brought to lead the Liturgy of the Word on the Sundays the Priest does not come. They only have Mass every other month. The entire community returned at 7:00 Sunday morning for a service so the volunteer could practice.

We taught the women to use the sewing machines. One woman had experience with a treadle machine so we put her in charge of the sewing project. They were all delighted with the hundreds of pounds of fabric and sewing notions we brought. The knitting lessons did not go as well and we ran out of time. I guess we will follow up on that next year.

The trip to the sheep farm was fun. Lucas bought two sheep while we were there. He now has 13 and is expecting 6 babies next month.

I spoke with Lucas last week and he said everyone was very happy. The whole village got together and each family contributed one dollar. They gave the money to the Priest and scheduled three Sunday Masses for all of the people here who helped them. Lucas said they wanted to let us know how much they appreciate all we do and they want to be right with God.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Paul Brant sends good news from Four Oaks, NC

Pastor Joey Yow and several members of the Four Oaks United Methodist Church joined our Four Oaks Hispanic congregation for the Palm Sunday procession from the Elementary School down Main Street (see photo) to the Church last Sunday. On Monday, the Administrative Council, after a very positive evaluation, renewed our covenant and we will have use of the Church sanctuary Sunday afternoons through December, 2008. Thanks to the folks who prayed the Novena of Grace of St Francis Xavier, our patron. We were heard!

In the name of all our members, and in my own, we send Easter greetings and prayers for you all.

Paul Brant, sj

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Dr. Hosffman Ospino de Boston College: Hacia una nueva generación de líderes hispanos para el servicio de Dios y la Iglesia en los Estados Unidos

An English version of this entry is just below.

Uno de los retos más grandes que enfrentan los hispanos como comunidad en los Estados Unidos es la educación de un cuerpo adecuado de líderes que guíen el camino hacia el crecimiento y una participación plena en nuestra sociedad. Lo mismo podemos decir de los hispanos en la Iglesia. Mientras que el número de hispanos se aproxima al 50% del total de la población católica en el país, el número de clero hispano, mujeres y hombres consagrados y laicos en posiciones de liderazgo todavía es muy bajo.

Hace tres años el Instituto de Educación Religiosa y Ministerio Pastoral (IREPM) de Boston College asumió la responsabilidad de evaluar la realidad del liderazgo ministerial entre los hispanos en la Iglesia y se propuso explorar nuevas iniciativas. El IREPM ya tenía una concentración en pastoral hispana dentro de su maestría en teología pastoral, pero no muchos candidatos se animaron a ser parte del programa porque los estudiantes tenían que adelantar sus estudios en dos partes distintas del país. En el 2005 reorganizamos nuestra maestría de tal manera que nuestros estudiantes en pastoral hispana pudieran cumplir todos los requisitos académicos y pastorales en el área de Boston. También creamos un certificado de postgrado en pastoral hispana para estudiantes que ya tienen una maestría en teología o pastoral, o sólo un título de pregrado y todavía no están listos para comprometerse con una maestría, o líderes hispanos con la riqueza de muchos años de experiencia pero que todavía no han terminado sus estudios de pregrado.

La experiencia ha sido un éxito y una bendición. En estos tres años hemos dado la bienvenida a cerca de 30 estudiantes de todas partes de Nueva Inglaterra y otros estados como California, New York, Virginia y Texas. La mayoría de nuestros estudiantes son mujeres y hombres laicos comprometidos con el trabajo pastoral en comunidades y organizaciones sirviendo a los hispanos católicos alrededor del país. El número de sacerdotes y mujeres y hombres consagrados es considerable, lo cual crea una verdadera experiencia de colaboración con sus hermanos y hermanos laicos en el salón de clase. Los estudiantes pueden estudiar medio tiempo o tiempo completo; pueden avanzar sus estudios durante el verano o durante el año académico. Estos programas de postgrado siguen creciendo con el apoyo de la comunidad de Boston College como una verdadera expresión de compromiso jesuita hacia la excelencia. En verdad dicho compromiso se hace bastante evidente en las becas generosas que ofrecemos a cualquier estudiante en nuestros programas de pastoral hispana: ¡Becas entre el 70% y 100%!

Ahora que el IREPM se prepara para unirse con Weston Jesuit School of Theology este verano 2008 y así dar origen a la nueva Escuela de Teología y Pastoral de Boston College, todas las personas involucradas en el proceso han expresado su sincero deseo de apoyar la formación de líderes eclesiales, hispanos y no hispanos, para trabajar en comunidades católicas que sirven a los latinos/as en los Estados Unidos. Unidos al cuerpo docente e investigativo de renombre mundial en teología y pastoral que caracteriza a Boston College y Weston, algunos de los mejores profesores hispanos han sido invitados a ser parte de BC. Los estudiantes que se preparan en nuestros programas de pastoral para servir en comunidades hispanas se benefician no solo de los mejores recursos financieros para adelantar su educación, sino que también de las mejores investigaciones, pedagogías y sistemas de apoyo. ¡Definitivamente una experiencia que vale la pena considerar!

Si usted o alguien que conoce está interesado(a) en adelantar estudios de postgrado en pastoral con énfasis en pastoral hispana, o cualquier líder latino/a sirviendo en la Iglesia que quiera prepararse mejor para servir pastoralmente, por favor comparta esta información sobre estas oportunidades. Puede encontrar más información sobre los programas de postgrado en pastoral hispana en Boston College en la siguiente página electrónica:

También puede contactarme a la información al final de este artículo. ¡Venga y lo verá!

Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D.

Theology and Education

Hispanic Ministry Programs


Boston College


Dr Hosffman Ospino from Boston College: Preparing a New Generation of Hispanic Leaders for the Service of God and the Church in the United States

One of the biggest challenges that Hispanics face as a community in the United States is that of educating an adequate body of leaders to lead the path to growth and full participation in our society. The same is true of Hispanics in the Church. While the number of Hispanic Catholics nears 50% of the total Catholic population in the country, the number of Hispanic clergy, consecrated women and men, and lay people in positions of leadership remains very low.

Three years ago The Institute of Religious Education and Pastoral Ministry (IREPM) at Boston College took on the responsibility of assessing the reality of ministerial leadership among Hispanics in the Church and thus proceeded to explore some new initiatives. The IREPM already had a concentration in Hispanic Ministry within its MA in Pastoral Ministry, but because students had to advance their studies in two different parts of the country the program did not attract many candidates. In 2005 we reorganized our Master’s program so our students in Hispanic Ministry could meet all their academic and pastoral requirements in the Boston area. We also created a graduate certificate in Hispanic ministry for students who already have a Master’s degree in ministry, or just a bachelor’s degree and are not yet ready to commit to graduate studies, or Hispanic leaders with a wealth of years of experience but who have not finished their undergraduate education.

The experience has been a success and a blessing. In these three years we have enrolled nearly 30 students from all parts of New England and other states such as California, New York, Virginia, and Texas. Most of our students are Hispanic lay women and men who are committed to Ministry in Hispanic faith communities and organizations around the country. The number of clergy and consecrated women and men is quite strong, creating a true experience of collaboration with their lay sisters and brothers in the classroom. Students can join the programs full-time or part-time; enroll as summer or academic-year students. These graduate programs continue to grow with the support of the Boston College community as a true expression of Jesuit commitment to excellence. Indeed, such commitment is evident in the generous scholarships that we offer to any student in our Hispanic Ministry programs: 70% to 100% tuition remission!

Now that the IREPM readies itself to come together with Weston Jesuit School of Theology this summer 2008 and thus give birth to the new School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College, everyone involved in the process has expressed their sincere support to the formation of Church leaders, Hispanic and non-Hispanic, to work with Latino/a Catholic communities in the United States. Along with the world-known faculty in theology and ministry that characterizes Boston College and Weston, some of the best Hispanic Catholic scholars have been invited to join BC. Our students preparing for ministry with Hispanic faith communities benefit not only from the best financial resources possible for their education, but also from the best scholarship, pedagogies, and support. Definitely an experience worth considering!

If you or someone you know is interested in graduate studies in ministry with emphasis on Hispanic Ministry or any Latino/a leader serving in the Church who wants to prepare better for ministry, please make them aware about these opportunities. More information about Boston College’s graduate programs in Hispanic Ministry at

You may also contact me at the information below. Come and see!

Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D.

Theology and Education

Hispanic Ministry Programs


Boston College