The Hispanic Ministry is a Ministry of the Diocese of Rockville Centre established to respond more effectively to its evangelizing mission were by we commit ourselves by means of Pastoral de Conjunto to promote the full integration and holistic formation of the Hispanic community. Pastoral de Conjunto: It is the harmoniuos coordination of all elements of the pastoral ministry with the action of the pastoral ministers and structures in view of the common goal, the kingdom of God. It is not only a methodology, but the expression of the essence and mission of the Church, which is to be and make communion.
The Mission is accomplished by means of Pastoral de Conjunto through specialized areas of ministry.
- New Evangelization
- Integral Formation
- Youth Ministry
- Social Pastoral Ministry
Hispanics, with the exception of the American Indian, have been in this country longer than any other European culture. To be explicit, Hispanics arrived in 1492 when Christopher Columbus discovered America. In 1564, forty-two years before the English founded Jamestown, the Spaniards established the first permanent settlement in what is now St. Augustine in Florida. It is here that the first Spanish Mass was celebrated. In 1565 the Spanish-speaking people began the colonization of New Mexico. That was twelve years before Jamestown and a quarter of a century before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock.
Over the past fifty years the Spanish-speaking people have become the fastest growing population in the United States. In 1983, the American bishops, in their pastoral letter, The Hispanic Presence: Challenge and Commitment, estimated that there were at least twenty million people of Hispanic origin in this country. This was an increase of over three hundred percent dating back to the 1950's.
The Hispanic population on Long Island continues to grow. In the year 2000 it was estimated that there were at least 2.8 million Hispanics living on Long Island. This does not include the many who are undocumented. Hispanics can be found in at least 291 of the more than 300 towns, villages, hamlets and cities of which Long Island is comprised. Eighty percent of the Hispanic population on Long island is Catholic.
Hispanics began arriving on Long Island in the late 1920's. They brought with them their strong gift of faith and faith practices and deep family values. At that time they established residences in Brentwood and Patchogue. In the early 1950's through the efforts, hard work and dedication of a small group of lay leaders the first Spanish Mass was celebrated in St. Ann's parish in Brentwood. Subsequently, all Spanish Masses that are being celebrated today in this Diocese of Rockville Centre and the presence of religious and apostolic movements are a result of the hard work and commitment of the laity.
The presence of Hispanic priests and religious, as well as those who are bi-lingual and bi-cultural and supportive pastors enriched the faith life of the Hispanics, thus enabling them to express it through their culture and language. In response to the demands of the ever-increasing Hispanic Catholic population, the diocese officially opened the Spanish Apostolate Office in September 1968. Since its inception the office has developed programs and ministries for Hispanics. It has provided training and developed resources which pertain to all levels of pastoral outreach and social advocacy. It has raised consciousness concerning the Hispanic presence within the diocesan structure and among the existing groups.
This historical background of the Spanish-speaking people of our diocese gives a clearer understanding of the mission of the Hispanic Ministry Office. We firmly believe that working within
a Pastoral de Conjunto
We can strive to achieve greater participation of all of God's people in the life of the church as the bishops of this country have requested in their pastoral letter: Hispanic Presence: Challenge and Commitment.
"A People United in Christ" is our logo and our response to the call made to each of us to live the Gospel in our everyday lives. It is a call for all of us to work together to bring the Kingdom to fulfillment as we minister to each other.