Saint Meinrad Archabbey has received a grant of nearly $1 million from Lilly Endowment Inc. to improve the way priests, deacons and lay ministers serve Hispanic and Latino youth and young adults.
Saint Meinrad will use the $999,620 grant to establish an Office for Hispanic and Latino Ministry within Saint Meinrad’s new Center for Youth and Young Adult Evangelization. The grant is being funded through Lilly Endowment’s Pathways for Tomorrow Initiative.
It is a three-phase initiative designed to help theological schools across the United States and Canada as they prioritize and respond to the most pressing challenges they face as they prepare pastoral leaders for Christian congregations both now and into the future.
Saint Meinrad is one of 84 theological schools that are receiving a total of more than $82 million in grants through the second phase of the Pathways initiative.
Earlier this year, Saint Meinrad worked with a research firm to learn how Hispanic and Latino youth and young adults relate to their Catholic faith. The new grant-funded office will focus on the needs, challenges, and potentials of outreach through Hispanic and Latino ministry. It will develop materials, methodology and tools for pastors/priests, deacons, and lay ministers who are ministering to Hispanic and Latino youth and young adults.
Using the research findings, Saint Meinrad will develop programs to form pastors, deacons, and laity to minister more effectively to these young people, relating to them in culturally appropriate and meaningful ways. With better understanding of the unique needs of Hispanic and Latino young people, and how to address those needs, ministers will be more successful in strengthening the faith lives of Hispanic/Latino young people and reinforcing their cultural ties to the Catholic faith.
“While Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology already has some offerings geared toward preparing seminarians for Hispanic/Latino ministry, the creation of a staffed office will allow for improved formation for seminarians and the ability to expand the opportunities for formation to ordained priests, deacons, and lay ministers,” said Sr. Jeana Visel, OSB, dean of School of Theology programs at Saint Meinrad.
“If Hispanic/Latino young people can be better served, we improve our chances of helping them to strengthen their affiliation with the Catholic Church and, indeed, to strengthen their own sense of their ethnic heritage.”