This Diocesan Pastoral Plan for Hispanic/Latino Ministry has been created through a synodal process, in other words, walking together. It was created with a team of priests, Hispanic/Latino ministers and lay leaders from 14 parishes that have a Hispanic/Latino community, in constant communication with diocesan directors and with our Shepherd, Bishop Medley. To see who was part of this Pastoral Planning Team, see Appendix B. This team and the diocesan directors studied Pope Francis’ vision expressed in Evangelii Gaudium and the Proceedings and Conclusions of the V National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry starting in July 2020. The team shared with diocesan directors their perspective about the reality of the Hispanic/Latino community in their parishes. The diocesan directors shared their offices’ current and planned projects and how they could collaborate with the Hispanic/Latino community.
The process was based upon an important principle of Hispanic/Latino Ministry: pastoral de conjunto4. Pastoral de conjunto is a spirituality of communion in mission, of collaborating at different levels of the Church, in distinct roles of the clergy and the laity, and of planning with people not for people. It affirms the identity of different groups, calls us to inclusion and openness, and at the same time reminds us that we are all united as one Body of Christ.
Based on the reality of the Hispanic/Latino community in our diocese, our diocese’s focus on evangelization and what they studied, the team divided into working groups during November and December 2020 to discuss concrete pastoral responses. Four strategic priorities were identified for Hispanic/Latino Ministry in the next five years:
Due to the challenges the Hispanic/Latino community faces in traveling long distances and the great differences among the resources available in the different parishes with a Hispanic community, the need was identified to work at the level of regions instead of having programs only at the diocesan or parish level. To this end, the diocese has been divided into four regions for Hispanic/Latino Ministry.
The four regions and parishes that currently have Hispanic/Latino Ministry:
Our Lady of Guadalupe Region
• Owensboro (Sts. Joseph and Paul)
• Henderson (Holy Name of Jesus)
• Sebree (St. Michael)
• Madisonville (Christ the King)
• Beaver Dam (Holy Redeemer)
Our Lady of Fatima Region
• Paducah (St. Thomas More)
• Mayfield (St. Joseph)
• Murray (St. Leo)
Our Lady of Mount Carmel Region
• Hopkinsville (Sts. Peter and Paul)
• Guthrie/Elkton (St. Francis of Assisi)
• Russellville (Sacred Heart)
Our Lady of the Rosary Region
• Bowling Green (St. Joseph)
• Morgantown (Holy Trinity)
• Franklin (St. Mary)
Next are more details on the four strategic priorities using the Pastoral Circle of SEE–JUDGE–ACT. The SEE section describes the reality of the Hispanic/Latino community in our diocese related to each strategic priority. The JUDGE section includes some quotes and concepts from the vision of the Universal Church, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and our diocese. The ACT section describes the diocesan level projects proposed for the next five years. Parish leadership is encouraged to discern local actions and responses, and to consider how diocesan offices could support them. They can use the Working Document for Parish Leadership in Appendix C as a tool of discernment and for references to use for further study. See Appendix D to read the ideas for actions at the parish level that came out of the working groups for inspiration.
The details about the diocesan projects will continue to be discerned on an ongoing basis by a Diocesan Implementation Team. This team will be made up of representatives from each region and the diocesan directors of the offices named in this pastoral plan. Their task will be to meet regularly to assess the progress of the plan, discern the next steps, and be in communication with the leadership of the parishes with Hispanic communities. The Diocesan Implementation Team should also evaluate the plan at the end of the five years and initiate a new pastoral planning process for the next diocesan pastoral plan. Due to the uncertain reality of the effects of the pandemic, exact dates for diocesan projects are not included here. Projects that can hopefully begin in the fiscal year July 2021 to June 2022 are marked with (2021-22). Updates and links to the resources mentioned in each section can be found on our website: owensborodiocese.org/hispanic-pastoral-plan.