Hispanic Ministry helps send students to summer program


The Office of Hispanic Ministry held a yard sale last weekend to raise money for students to study at Boston College this summer.

Ten students from parishes in the Camden Diocese will spend up to six weeks in Boston College this summer, working toward a Hispanic Ministry Certificate, or a master’s degree in pastoral ministry with concentration in Hispanic ministry, through the college’s School of Theology and Ministry.

Students are taking one, two or three two-credit summer sessions, each lasting two weeks, in working toward an 18-credit certification or 36-credit master’s. The first course started on June 22, and the last one ends on July 31.

With the students currently working at their parishes in such departments as youth ministry and religious formation, the Boston College education will allow them to further bring the faith to Hispanic Catholics in their particular ministries.

Sister Sonia Avi, assistant director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, notes that the program allows students to “follow up on their formation.” She added that for some of them, the opportunity to receive a certificate or master’s is a “dream come true.”

As well, the students will not only be the only benefactors of the program; when they come back to minister in their parishes, those they minister to “will be encouraged to do the same,” and study at Boston College. Sister Sonia herself is currently working on a master’s.

Participating students work in St. Ann, Wildwood; Our Lady Star of the Sea, Atlantic City; Immaculate Conception, Bridgeton and other parishes.

Since the summer of 2007, the Diocese of Camden has sent students to Boston College for the summer-only sessions. The number of participants has grown from four the first summer, to 10 this year.

The students stay in dorms, and for the most part, the Diocese of Camden contingent will travel together to Boston College. The car ride to the college, the classes they are in together, and assignments that they participate in together will all serve to strengthen their bond, and their common desire to do God’s work in Hispanic ministry.

The students’ tuition costs will be aided by Boston College and the Camden Diocese. Boston College is taking off 70 percent of the cost of each course, and of what is left, the students pay a third of the cost, the diocese contributes a third, and the students’ parish contributes a third of the cost. Also, diocesan departments and organizations, such as the Office of Evangelization and the Knights of Columbus, along with the money raised from the yard sale, will go toward students’ education. Along with the one-third cost for the course, each student will be responsible for room and board expenses, and all of the students will share cost of transportation and meals.

Items sold at the fundraiser last weekend, held at the Cathedral Hall/parking lot, included clothes, paintings, and children’s toys.