Diocese of Joliet completes Hispanic leadership training | Local news


Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese of Joliet recently completed the inaugural class of a revolutionary leadership program developed by a national Catholic nonprofit based in Washington, DC.

During a mass in Spanish at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church in Joliet, Bishop Ron Hicks congratulated the 16 graduates in attendance for “growing in wisdom.”

Leadership Roundtable, a best practice nonprofit organization for the Catholic Church, developed the Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative in recognition of the untapped resource of the Hispanic community.

About 40% of all Catholics in the United States are Hispanic, according to a 2018 study conducted by V Encuentro, the Hispanic outreach arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The diocese of Joliet reflects this percentage.

Michael Brough, Leadership Roundtable partner, praised the students for their diligence.

“You are the pioneers,” Brough said in a press release.

Alex Quezada, of Saint John Paul II Catholic Church in Kankakee, praised the program for its foresight.

“This opportunity opens the door for a rapidly growing population in the United States to train as leaders after the model of Jesus Christ,” Quezada said.

The journey of Quezada and her classmates was not without challenges.

When the Diocese’s Hispanic and Ethnic Ministry Office competed and won against the country’s Catholic dioceses for the opportunity to serve as the first class of the new program, the country was grappling with the first months of the coronavirus pandemic.

Participants received a blessing from then-Diocesan Apostolic Administrator Bishop Richard Pates in September 2020 as they wore masks and were seated at least 6 feet from each other in St. Raymond Nonnatus Cathedral from Joliet. Plans for in-person classes starting in January 2021 quickly shifted to online learning.

The Leadership Roundtable students and staff persevered, meeting regularly through Zoom for courses that included a comprehensive personal assessment and best practices on issues such as finance, operations, legal compliance, ethics. , stewardship and advocacy on local ordinances or state and federal law.

Leadership Roundtable is expanding the Latino Pastoral Leaders Initiative to the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida and will soon announce a third site.


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