SOURCE: Legion of Christ

October 09, 2008 16:13 ET

Curso de Hispanidad Enriches American Priests and Seminarians

Participants Report a New Appreciation for Hispanic Culture, Improved Spanish Skills, and Valuable Pastoral Experiences

MEXICO CITY--(Marketwire - October 9, 2008) - For North American priests, ministering to the Hispanic segment of their flocks can be challenging if they are unfamiliar with the language and culture. The 7-week Curso de Hispanidad, sponsored by the Sacerdos Institute, gives diocesan priests and seminarians a leg up on the challenge.

The program began in 2002 and has been offered every year since, giving its participants an immersion experience in the language and culture of the Mexican people within a priestly and prayerful environment. This year's course was offered from June 17th to August 1st at the Inter-American Cultural Center in Mexico City. The 2009 course will be held June 16 to 31.

For the 12 seminarians and priests who attended this year, the experience was not only practically useful, but also enriching for their own vocation.

"The Hispanic Course opened up to me a whole new world of evangelical and priestly ministry," said Anthony Gerber, a seminarian from the Archdiocese of St Louis. "I not only feel more equipped to serve the growing Hispanic population in my diocese, but I have also received a real and renewed spirit of mission, compassion, and love. What a gift was this summer for my budding vocation!" he said.

Curso de Hispanidad brought the seminarians and priests out into the field on various pastoral ministry assignments. They went twice a week to St Ursula's parish and made house visits to poor families to pray the rosary with them, give them some catechesis, and just spend time with them. They also spent a day on a missions trip to the rural region of Malinalco with a group of families from Familia Misionera (Missionary Family), an international apostolate that brings families on door-to-door visits to evangelize and witness to other families.

Visits to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and to outlying towns helped the participants see how faith and daily life are of a piece in Mexican culture.

The experience of meeting the Mexican people in the field was particularly enriching for seminarian Glenn Evers of the diocese of Wilmington, Delaware.

"Curso de Hispanidad is an immersion program that fires on all cylinders," he said. "I came back not only speaking significantly more Spanish, but also attained a more intimate knowledge of Hispanic culture and a fervent love for the intrinsic beauty of the Mexican people. Christian charity and generosity were redefined for me over the duration of the program; time and time again, I was floored by the sheer Christ-like hospitality and warmth of a people that live Christ. Curso de Hispanidad was a blessing from God in my life y en el sentido estricto fue perfecto!"

Curso de Hispanidad is sponsored by Sacerdos in conjunction with the Department of Humanities and the Center for Language Studies of Anáhuac University in Mexico City.

The Sacerdos Institute is an international apostolic initiative of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement. It is dedicated to build up priests and the priestly spirit in the heart of the Church, and its network of services offers on-going integral formation, pastorally effective resources, and fraternity, within a spirit of communion with the local and universal Church.

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