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Last night was the Gala for Assumption Seminary here in San Antonio.  It was a nice evening and the keynote speaker was Archbishop Chaput from Denver Colorado.  He gave a great keynote!  As I was listening to his speech I could not help but wonder what the seminarians thought about his speech.  He spoke at length about the Church’s role in the public life of this country.  When we at MACC speak about it we are often accused of “getting involved with politics”, coming from the Archbishop I hope it will challenge all his listeners to really reflect about what it means to be a priest here in the US, and how we have a duty to be leaven, and to help others be leaven, in our society.  I was so glad that he gave that speech, I pray that all, especially the seminarians, had the ears to hear, and have the will to act.

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I always tell people, who do not see the point of changing some of the wording we have at Mass, that the bishops want the Church in the US to be more in line with the Spanish translation – which has always been said faithfully and correctly. 

Read this about the New Translation.

This weekend I took part in a training of deacon candidates and their wives, for the diocese of Little Rock.  It was a great experience.  They have a class of about 50 couples!  It was divided by language groups and this was the first time they offered it in Spanish – this group made up 23 couples of the entire group.  I was so impressed with their dedication and openess to want to serve the Lord and the Church in Little Rock.  I believe great things will be happening in the Church there, thanks to the movement of the Spirit especially under the leadership of their new bishop.  It was very tiring to move from the Mini Pastoral to a weekend long program, but it was definitely worth it. 

I have always found that, to some people, the whole topic of Hispanic Ministry and culture is very challenging and stretches them personally.  Perhaps it is the immigration component, the popular devotion, the cultural understanding, the social justice perspective, language, etc.  It is always painful to see persons preparing for ministry who are closed to the message that we are trying to convey – especially since it is coming straight from Christ, our Holy Father, and our bishops.  I have experienced seminarians who are very arrogant in their pastoral approach to culture, I have heard priests who spew negative stereotypes that can be heard from media types on CNN and FOX.  Some don’t even try to hide their displeasure: taking phone calls during our presentations and stepping out for long stretches, reading magazines while presenters are talking, nit-picking about different aspects of the program without allowing the message behind it to speak. (Sadly, I have seen it all).

Some people in formation really need to discern their call to ministry especially in a multicultural context.  Exploring our inner iceberg is often challenging to people who have found comfort in sticking only to theology, canon law, scripture, or liturgy, without considering the people of God they will be ministering to and with. 

I saw alot of hope in the deacon candidates and their wives this weekend and they will be in my prayers as they go through their four years together, learning, growing, and bringing unity to the Body of Christ in Little Rock.  This weekend gave me great hope that in spite of past experiences with the close-mindeness of some pastoral ministers (both in formation and out), there are many who are willing to live out the challenges of building unity amidst our diversity, and to sustain and create a Church that is both welcoming and loving.   The words that came out from many of the candidates were “patience”, “humility”, and “understanding”; something other candidates in formation (priests, deacons, religious, and lay) can all learn from.