Tuesday, March 18, 2008

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 http://www.bc.edu/schools/stm/irepm/academics/interest_hispanic.html

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

Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D.

Theology and Education

Hispanic Ministry Programs


Boston College



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