PROVIDENCE — The outreach being done each day by diocesan Hispanic Ministry will benefit from the proceeds of this year’s Lumen Gentium Awards Banquet, which will be held on Wednesday, May 16, at Twin River Event Center in Lincoln. The awards will formally recognize those individuals, organizations and groups who have made significant contributions to the life of the church in the diocese.
The office of Hispanic Ministry, which comes under the umbrella of the diocesan Multicultural Ministry, serves as the liaison between parishes, the Hispanic community and diocesan ministries, providing leadership, support and assistance in family ministry, evangelization, education and faith formation.
Among the many programs that the office provides are: 4 Men and Women “Cambiame a Mi Señor” (Change me Lord), Kerygmatic retreats, leadership retreats, annual family conference, support for family retreat, pastoral familiar (family ministry) and retreats for couples in parishes.
The office also helps to plan the Spanish track at the annual Faith Formation Convocation with workshops in Spanish on religious education, evangelization, family, youth ministry and liturgy.
Additionally, the office of Hispanic Ministry airs a weekly 30-minute FM radio program and manages a social media page. Also, the office provides support to apostolic movements such as Legion of Mary, Cursillo Movement and Charismatic Renewal; and collaborates with other diocesan ministries including the Catholic School Office, Office of Faith Formation, Immigration and Refugees Services, Planning, Youth Ministry and Life and Family Ministry.
A major initiative being led by Hispanic Ministry aims to help more than a dozen local participants in various group meetings locally and with Bishop Thomas J. Tobin over the last couple of years to attend the upcoming national V (Quinto) Encuentro gathering of faithful.
“The proceeds from the 2018 Lumen Gentium Awards dinner will help to send 15 delegates to the V National Encuentro of Hispanic Ministry that will take place September 20-23 in Dallas Texas,” said Father Nolasco Tamayo, director of the Diocesan Multicultural Ministry.
“It is the hope of the Hispanic Ministry Team that the diocese will support part of the expense of 15 diocesan delegates, the parish will cover another portion and the participant will find local sponsors in his or her community of faith to cover the final portion of the expense,” he added.
Father Nolasco said that the proceeds would also help his office better position itself to evangelize across the diocese.
“We want to be able to better support our evangelization initiatives, formation and leadership courses, our weekly radio program and stewardship awareness efforts,” he said.
Silvio Cuéllar, the coordinator of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, said that the office has facilitated four Kerygmatic Evangelizations retreats for women and men each year for the last decade.
“Last year alone, 90 men and about 120 women participated in our Cambiame a Mi Señor (Change Me Lord Retreats). Another 275 leaders attended the Faith Formation Convocation, 260 delegates participated in the diocesan Encuentro and close to 1,000 faithful participated in the parish sessions and parish Encuentros,” he said.
Cuéllar said that Hispanic Ministry has been a good steward of the resources they’re given in their annual budget, but that the additional funding from the Lumen proceeds will allow them to do more in their ministry.
“Our leaders and volunteers are very resourceful and creative at finding sponsors and volunteering their time to keep costs down, but we can use more help,” he said, citing as an example a negotiation with a retreat house for their Cambiame Weekend Retreats to reduce the price from $155 to $90 if the diocesan group used its own team of volunteers to cook and provide the meals during the retreats.
“We have a retreat facilitator team, a kitchen team, and a development team who seek donations in food and resources from local businesses,” he added.
Cuéllar said another big expense is the weekly radio program.
“It costs us $9,000 per year or about $175 per program to rent 30 minutes from the most listened to Spanish FM Radio Station in Rhode Island and surrounding areas.
“Our program reaches not only Catholics but any Spanish speaking immigrant in Rhode Island who listens to the popular radio station,” said Cuellar, who also serves as editor of El Catolico, the Spanish language sister publication to Rhode Island Catholic.
Last year, the office also started recording the program with video and began drawing traffic to its social media page when it posts after the program airs on the radio station.
The office started a Pastoral Familiar (Family Ministry) at the end of 2017.
Rubelcy Herrera, an experienced leader and speaker from St. Patrick Parish, was hired to work part time as part of the Multicultural Ministry team.
“He did our first retreat for couples last November and was very successful with 130 people in attendance,” Cuellar said of Herrera’s well-received efforts.
Recently, Hispanic Ministry started providing support to St. Joseph Parish in Newport, organizing a three-week retreat that was very well attended, and the congregation more than doubled in the parish from around 60 to well over 100 people during the weeks of the retreat, according to Cuéllar.
Cuéllar said that Herrera has reported to him that there are thousands of immigrants who are working very hard but are not attending church.
With the blessing of the pastor, Herrera hopes to continue providing support twice a month while the new parishioners become established and new leaders emerge.
With the help of the Multicultural Team, Herrera is also planning a second retreat for Spanish-speaking couples on May 5. Along with Cuéllar, Father Nolasco will also be among the speakers at the Spanish track of the Faith Formation Convocation on March 17 at Bryant University.
Since 2013, when the first awards were presented, the annual Lumen Gentium awards banquet has raised more than $300,000 in support of ministries including Catholic elder services, Emmanuel House and Catholic Education.
Categories for Service Awards are: Parish Service, Catholic Charities & Community Service, Catholic Education, Evangelization, Communications, Administration & Stewardship, Respect Life, Public Service, Distinguished Catholic Youth and Friend of the Diocese.
To nominate an individual or group for a Lumen Gentium Award, or for more information, including detailed descriptions of the 10 nominating categories, visit www.dioceseofprovidence.org/lumen-gentium-awards or call 401-277-2121 Option 0.