Hispanic Ministry Convocation to be held Sept. 9-10

COLUMBIA — A Hispanic Ministry Convocation to help assist those who minister in the Church to address the ever increasing number of people of Hispanic origin working and living in the Diocese of Charleston will be held in Columbia next month.

The meeting, to be held at the Ramada Plaza Hotel Sept. 9 and 10, will include special deanery meetings to discuss the needs of Hispanics in each deanery.

Guest speakers for the event are Piarist Father Mario Vizcaino and Lydia Menocal of the Southeast Regional Office for Hispanic Ministry (SEPI). SEPI is an educational and service organization that assists bishops in eight southeastern states in developing and training leaders for the integration of the Hispanic community into the life of the church and society.

Also scheduled is a presentation by Father Rick LaBrecque, pastor of St. James Parish in Conway and the Church of the Resurrection in Loris, who will speak on “The Hispanic Presence in the Diocese of Charleston.”

At the diocesan Priests’ Convocation in January, the need to address ministry with Hispanics in the diocese was discussed. In February, Bishop David B. Thompson wrote to the priests and asked them to schedule the Hispanic Ministry Convocation on their calendars. “This is a very important meeting for all priests, and I want all to make every effort to be present for and to participate in this convocation,” wrote the Bishop in a letter to priests dated July 30.

The gathering for the clergy will begin on Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 9, with opening remarks by Bishop Thompson. That will be followed by a presentation from Father Viszcaino and Menocal on “The Phenomenon of Human Mobility in the World Today.”

It will focus on the tradition in the Catholic Church in the United States regarding the pastoral care of migrants and refugees, challenges and evangelical dimension, Hispanic presence and approval of the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry.

Following Father LeBrecque’s talk, a meeting of those working with Hispanics in each deanery will be held with reports shared from each deanery.

The following day, Sept. 10, will begin with a special liturgy. Bishop Thompson will give a review of Wednesday’s activities for others working with Hispanics in the diocese.

Presentations by Father Vizcaino and Menocal will examine “The Presence of Hispanics and Pastoral Responsibility” and “Doctrinal Motivation and Pastoral Guidelines from the Pontifical Commission for Migration and the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry.”

Afterwards, the pair will discuss the process for implementation of the national pastoral plan in the diocese.

Afternoon agenda items include table discussions, a question and answer session, and cluster/deanery meetings to develop local plans for Hispanic ministry.

Registration forms for the event are to be returned to the diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry in Charleston. The deadline to register is Aug. 26.