Hispanic family ministers gather in Philadelphia to discuss opportunities, challenges facing Spanish-speaking families

Hispanic family ministers gather in Philadelphia to discuss opportunities, challenges facing Spanish-speaking families
Kathia Arango, diocesan coordinator for the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Camden, was one of the presenters at a gathering of 130 Catholic Hispanic/Latino leaders who work in family ministries in the United States and Latin America. It was held in Philadelphia on the eve of the World Meeting of Families. Photo by James A. McBride

Kathia Arango, diocesan coordinator for the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Camden, was one of the presenters at a gathering of 130 Catholic Hispanic/Latino leaders who work in family ministries in the United States and Latin America. It was held in Philadelphia on the eve of the World Meeting of Families.
Photo by James A. McBride

Last Monday, on the eve of the World Meeting of Families, more than 130 Catholic Hispanic/Latino leaders who work in family ministries in the United States and Latin America, including individuals from the Diocese of Camden, met in Philadelphia to discuss the opportunities and challenges that Spanish-speaking families face.

Family life ministers from the United States, representatives from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), and delegations from several bishops’ conferences in Latin America came together for the gathering, known as Primer Encuentro Hispano-Latino Americano de Familias (First Encounter of Hispanic and Latin American Families).

Along with examining the challenges Spanish-speaking families deal with today, the conference also looked for ways to better impact the quality of ministry with families in the U.S. and Latin America.

Presenters for the Sept. 21 meeting included Bishop Gerald Barnes of San Bernardino, chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs; Bishop Eusebio Elizondo, M.Sp.S, auxiliary Bishop of Seattle and chairman of the USCCB Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America; and Bishop Oscar Cantu of Las Cruces, N.M., chairman of the Committee on International Justice and Peace.

In addition, Kathia Arango, diocesan coordinator for the Hispanic Charismatic Renewal in the Diocese of Camden, gave a presentation to those convened. Damaris Thillet, associate director of Worship and Christian Initiation, and her husband, Diego, concluded the evening with a concert.

Kathia is also the director of the Office for Hispanic Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. Her husband, Andres, is the Bishop’s Delegate for Hispanics in the Diocese of Camden.

The two gave a talk Sept. 23 during the World Meeting of Families for Spanish families on “The Building Blocks and the Cornerstone: Building Familial Love Through Everyday Practices.”

Calling it a “blessing and honor” to be a speaker for the World Meeting of Families, Kathia remarked that “it’s an exciting time for me and the Catholic church in this country.”

“We hope that our session was a space for the renewal of families to experience the external love God,” Andres added.

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