June 12, 2013 // Uncategorized

Hispanics celebrate implementation of five-year pastoral plan

Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades raises the monstrance with the Blessed Sacrament before Hispanic faithful prior to the beginning of Mass Saturday, June 8 in Warsaw. The bishop was present to mark the implementation of a five-year plan for Hispanic Ministry in the diocese.

By Jodi Magallanes

WARSAW — Following two years of planning the Office of Hispanic Ministries has prepared a five-year pastoral plan for implementation within the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, and Hispanics of the diocese celebrated their hard work on Saturday, June 8, with a day of worship, the sacraments, a Mass celebrated by Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades and a fiesta.

At the request of Bishop Rhoades, Enid Roman DeJesus, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministries, and Lourdes Silva, associate director, have led the two-year planning process that involved the pastors and laity of 13 parishes.

The effort was guided by five points of interest or areas of faith and practice that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops believes should receive attention and be strengthened.

Coming together at the Our Lady of Guadalupe Church and Diocesan Shrine in Warsaw, many of the faithful arrived Saturday more than an hour before the start of the 11 a.m. Mass to prepare themselves by way of the sacrament of Reconciliation. Twelve Reconciliation stations were set up on the lawn behind the shrine, around a central tent where each priest later joined the bishop for Mass.

On the feast day of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Bishop Rhoades welcomed worshippers with a reminder that the Year of Faith is currently being celebrated, a faith that begins with the sacrament of Baptism; a faith that is modeled perfectly by Mary. Mary loved God and her Son with all of her heart.

“The heart reveals and is a symbol of the spirituality of a person. The first time the Gospel mentions the heart of Mary is to show the richness of the interior life of the Virgin,” Bishop Rhoades said. St. Luke wrote that Mary guarded memories of Jesus in her heart — a heart from which all of humanity has been born.

“St. John, at the foot of the cross with Mary, represented all of us,” Bishop Rhoades said. “Mary is our mother, the mother of the Church. We are loved by her.”

“Mary is a gift that Jesus Himself gives to each one of us, personally,” Bishop Rhoades added. “Her heart is our security and our consolation. Mary is with us always, and accompanies us in the suffering and pain of life, they say that she accompanied her Son in His Passion.”

The Virgin offers us her Immaculate Heart, which is tender and gentle, but she also calls us prayer, sacrifice, penitence, generosity and devotion.

“We must imitate her virtues,” Bishop Rhoades said.

He also spoke of the accomplishment represented by the pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry, a plan that will advance and fortify the Hispanic apostolate in the diocese and in each parish that ministers to the Hispanic faithful.

The five-year-plan highlights the strengthening of marriages, the promotion of religious vocations, a strengthening of religious formation and catechesis, the development of a youth ministry plan and the protection of human dignity.

“We’re trying to create something that will carry us forward in the mission of the Church — evangelization,” said Roman.

Although the plan draws on the expertise and resources of the diocesan offices of Family Life, Youth Ministry and others, it is parish-based. From among the pastoral and lay leadership of diocesan Hispanic parishes, implementation groups will be designated to ensure progress toward the established goals.

“This is a moment of grace for the Hispanic community of our diocese, an opportunity for growth in faith and in the love of Christ,” Bishop Rhoades said, commissioning those present to embark on the realization of the goals of the plan in ways encouraged by their pastors.

Here is the pastoral plan.

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