August 2003

Congregation of Holy Cross 

Southern Province


Vol. 14, No. 7

This news was NOT censored by the Bush Administration.  They wouldn't like it either.

The account of the Hispanic Committee meeting was written by Sr. Mary Ann Pajakowski, CSC.

The members of Our Lady of Soledad Parish and the Valley Missionary Program in Coachella, California rolled out the red carpets again and again for the Holy Cross sisters (Marianites, Canadian, US), brothers, priests, and lay associates of Holy Cross at their annual meeting, July 23-27.  

In 100 plus degree temperatures, team members from the Valley Missionary Program (VMP) greeted the committee members with a barbeque and continued their very special tradition of hospitality throughout the weekend.  The committee’s time was taken up with inservice topics, experiencing the reality of the local area, and learning the characteristics that are particular to Holy Cross ministry with Hispanics to better support Hispanic ministry in the church. 

Father Pepe Martelli CSC of the Valley Missionary Program; Father John Connor CSC of Our Lady of Soledad Parish, and parish member Laura Lopez   presented an overview of the present Hispanic reality.  Laura gave examples from her own life that illustrated how encouragement from persons who believed in her ability to develop is making a difference in her ability to serve others.  Laura recognized Father John Conner CSC as one of those persons.  

Father John Connor gave a presentation on the statement from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops “Encuentro and Mission:  A Renewed Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry.” The document encourages a “new phase” for Hispanic ministry to include development in three fundamental areas: strengthening ministry structures and networks such as diocesan and regional levels and pastoral institutes; relationship building with ethnic, racial and ministerial groups and organizations and collaboration, and fostering the active participation of Hispanic Catholics in the social mission of the church. 

Growing numbers in the US church make it imperative to address the reality of the Hispanic experience.   Our Lady of Soledad Parish and the Valley Missionary Program are great examples of a community that practices welcoming and celebrating the Hispanic presence.  

Marco Raposo of the Diocese of San Bernardino gave a presentation on “Welcoming the Stranger:  Unity and Diversity” a pastoral statement from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops.  It is the context for a program being piloted in 8 parishes in the diocese that focuses on integrating into church structures a spirit of interculturalism and welcoming, so that all groups making up a parish share roles, power and responsibilities of the parish faith community instead of functioning as parallel structures.  Our Lady of Soledad Parish is one of the eight parishes selected.  Parish staff members also shared information on the youth and counseling programs hosted by the parish.



August 2003, Page 2


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