A Vision for Hispanic Evangelization in the Archdiocese
By Sister Eileen Connelly
Samuel Vasquez’s ministry as Managing Director, Hispanic Evangelization, in the Archdiocese Center for the New Evangelization is deeply personal for him.
Raised in California, the son of Mexican immigrants, Vasquez accepted the position after his wife, Adriana, was hired to serve as the Managing Director, Marriage & Family Evangelization. “I’m part of the Hispanic community,” Vasquez said. “I still pray in Spanish. It’s the language of my heart.”
Vasquez started in his new position last September, having previously served in the Dioceses of Oakland and Orange, along with educational ministry.
He described the role of his team saying, “The mission of the Hispanic Evangelization Team of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is to provide a ministry of accompaniment to the Hispanic community by undertaking three vital functions: By providing archdiocesan oversight of groups and parish initiatives, advocacy for the needs of the Hispanic community and its pastors, and by providing opportunities for formation that the parish would not otherwise be able to offer. The aim of our work is to be able to equip parishes to be able to provide for the pastoral needs of the Spanish-speaking faithful at their parish.”
“My personal vision is for the Hispanic community to know that we are here to walk with them, to advocate for them and their needs, and to form leaders within the community,” he added.
As such, his first priority has been meeting with local pastors and lay leaders, listening to the needs of the community, and developing formation opportunities including a yearlong basic course on leadership and discipleship. There are plans to build on this course, Vasquez noted, along with the eventual goal of establishing a Spanish diaconate training program. “We want to provide formation that is on the same caliber that people receive in the English language,” he said.
“The number one need is for Spanish speaking priests,” Vasquez said. “We can’t serve the Hispanic community without them. We need to be able to prepare people to receive the sacraments and see that they are fully integrated into the life of their parish.”
Vasquez feels his approach to ministry and evangelization is very much rooted in his own spiritual and personal growth. “When I was younger, I saw a lot of poverty, and thought the best way to help people was materially,” he said. “Then, I realized peoples’ brokenness was being apart from God, and that the greatest richness I can share is the richness of our faith. It’s all about bringing Christ to others, giving them the formation in their faith that they need to equip them to be disciples. From there, they can bring Christ to others and go out and change the world in whatever way it needs to be changed.”
“I feel very supported through the CMA,” Vasquez said. “I know that supporters and the Archdiocese as a whole want me to succeed and want the Hispanic community to succeed.”
To learn more about the CMA please visit www.aocstewardship.org