Latino Youth and Evangelization

May 4, 2021
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Claudia HerreraACHTUS

Jose Matos AuffantSt. Mary's University

This event is part of a webinar series on Hispanic TheologyThis event and series is made possible by a generous grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute.

There are complex dynamics to account for when examining the intersectionality of religious identity, social context, and the lived experience of young Latinx in the U.S, and there is much to reflect upon when attending to the everyday life or lo cotidiano of young Latinx. Current research shows that almost half of Catholics in the United States self-identify as Hispanic, and that more than half of those Hispanic Catholics are young. To better understand the religious dynamics of young Latinx, we first must identify those who are affiliated as Catholics and those who are not, and examine how they understand their relationship with the faith. This requires a process of listening, reflection and participatory-action. There is a large group of young Latinx who self-identify as Catholics and no longer affiliate nor participate in a local church or any form of pastoral activity. In some cases, their faith identity and daily practice as Catholics is a pilgrimage where the Church is home, the streets, and other spaces, and the practices of their everyday life represent Catholicism. 

This conversation aims to provide both practical and theological insight emerging from the particularities of pastoral and research work with young Latinx and their familias/comunidades. There is a great need to open concrete spaces in which young Latinx are listened to as they name themselves and are affirmed as active agents in the sharing of the good news of the Gospel. Let’s continue the conversation!


Spring 2021 Hispanic Theology Series

In the last half century, the demographics of Catholicism in America has shifted dramatically as Latino Catholic communities continue to grow. Today, nearly 50 percent of American Catholics are Latino. What are the trends and currents of Hispanic theology in the US? How does it draw from the deep wells of polyglot Catholic Intellectual tradition and from the experience of Catholics on the ground? How is Hispanic theology a resource today not only for Latino communities, but also the broader Church?

Join Tuesdays this Spring as the Lumen Christi Institute presents some of the top Latino/a scholars in the United States for an introduction to Hispanic Theology. 

This series and event is made possible by a generous grant from the Our Sunday Visitor Institute and cosponsored by  ACHTUS: The Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the US , La Comunidad of Hispanic Scholars of ReligionCorazón Puro, the Hispanic Theological InitiativeSaint Benedict Institute, the Nova ForumCalvert House Catholic MinistryDominican University Ministry Program, the Ecclesia in America Network, the Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage, the Óscar Romero Scholars Program at Catholic Theological UnionIskaliCommonweal Magazine, and America Media.


Upcoming events in our series:

May 11   Beauty and Justice in the City: the Restoration of St. Adalbert's, in Pilsen, with Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado (University of Scranton), Peter Casarella (Duke University), and Juan Soto (Gamaliel)

May 18   Latino Christology, with Roberto Goizueta (Boston College) and Neomi de Anda (University of Dayton)

May 25   The Ethics of Immigration, with Victor Carmona (University of San Diego) and Nichole Flores (University of Virginia)

June 1    Future Directions of Hispanic Theology with Peter Casarella (Duke University) and Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado (University of Scranton)

Dr. Claudia Herrera-Montero is a Catholic practical theologian and educator. She holds an M.A. in Pastoral Ministries and a Ph.D. in Practical Theology from St. Thomas University. Her doctoral dissertation, “Understanding Contemporary Practical Latino/a Theology Through the Lenses of College-Age Latinas in Their 20’s: A New Marianismo?” has expanded her research on participatory-action and faith identity, spirituality and access in higher education among first-generation College-age Latinx and their families. Her latest publications include: “The Practical Theological Journey of Participatory Action Research: Building the Bridge Between the Classroom and the Field” In An Ethic for Bridge Building: Practical Theologizing in the 21st Century, edited by Robert A. Pennington and Thomas Kelly (Herder and Herder, 2020),  “Hispanic Ministry and The Cultivation of Catholic Identity Among Hispanic Youth.” in the study document for the III National Symposium on Catholic Hispanic Ministry (publication forthcoming), as well as articles in The Record for the Archdiocese of Lousville, and Catechetical Leader. She currently serves as the Secretary of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS), as a board member of the Spirituality & Sustainability Global Network and co-director and co-host of the forthcoming podcast, Bridging Theology. Claudia and her family currently live in South Florida.  

José J. Matos Auffant is Executive Director for Missions at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, TX fostering the formation of faith through University Ministry and various Marianist programs for students, staff, and faculty. José coordinates “Messengers of Faith and Hope” annual summer Hispanic Ministry Training for Campus Ministers and Young Adults and has served as co-host for the 3rd Season of the Catholic Campus Ministry Association podcast series. He is a delegate of the Archdiocese of San Antonio for the V Encuentro process, also representing St. Mary’s University in the National Dialogue and La Red de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana. Now in his 8th year at St. Mary’s University, José was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico where he worked with the Pontifical Mission Societies coordinating missionary awareness programs for youth and young adults. As a teacher at Colegio San José Marianist College Preparatory, he worked with Juventud Misionera at the high school level and worked with the Marianist LIFE (Living In Faith Experiences) youth ministry summer conferences for over a decade.