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 | Teresa Peterson

Enhancing Ministry to the Hispanic Community

On May 1, 2024, the Diocese of St. Petersburg hosted a gathering for church leaders from across Florida to discuss ways to implement the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry created by the U.S. Bishops last summer.

Described as a “Provincial Encounter” participants included clergy, religious, those working in the areas of evangelization, catechesis, faith formation, multicultural ministry, and other areas. Bishop Gregory Parkes spoke to participants about the need for collaboration to better serve our Hispanic brothers and sisters.

“It's up to the bishops as leaders of the diocese, as shepherds, to foster a culture of collaboration. It's one thing to say that we're collaborative in what we do in our ministry, but it's another thing to have that be the reality of how we do things on a day-to-day basis,” said Bishop Parkes during a reflection he shared with participants. 

The Diocese of St. Petersburg is working to equip parishes and pastoral leaders to better understand and respond to the needs of the Hispanic community, a growing population throughout Florida.  

“We want to develop competencies among our ministers and leaders so they can advocate for the Hispanic community, bring people together, grow, and move towards integration,” said Melissa Mulson, Director of Youth and Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Her office oversees the Associate Director of Pastoral Juvenil, a newly created position that specifically serves Hispanic young adults. Alfredo Columbie-Martinez started in that role on September 5, 2023.

The Office of Missionary Discipleship of the Diocese of St. Petersburg recently sponsored a Spanish immersion program for its staff members.

“Within our diocesan staff we have folks that are not of Hispanic background, don't speak Spanish, or have never been exposed to the Spanish culture. That, at times, can create some challenges for serving the Hispanic community,” said Dr. Armando Chavarria, Executive Director of Missionary Discipleship.

Carlos Flores, Director of the Hispanic Ministry Office, and Ana Jahuey, Administrative Assistant for Intercultural Ministries and Lay Pastoral Ministry Institute of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, planned the logistics for the event that was organized by the US Catholic Bishops Southeast Regional Office for Hispanic Ministry and the Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI). 

Click the arrows below to view more photos from the event.


Encounter to Enhance Hispanic Ministry