Hispanic Catholics will teach future generations

I spent a few hours at the Archdiocese of New York’s big “Catechetical Convocation” on Saturday at the Westchester County Center and one thing was immediately clear.

The “Irish church” that once was in New York is becoming — or has become — an “Hispanic church.”

Some 2,000 educators — people who teach in parish education programs around the archdiocese — came to the convocation. They came for spiritual nourishment and to learn how to become better teachers.

No one was counting the ethnicity of those present, but I would guess that more than half of those in attendance were Hispanic. Maybe way more than half. It would have been easy to step inside the County Center (home to so many reptile shows and used computer shows) and think that it was some sort of Hispanic gathering.

Taking things further, the vast majority of white people in attendance were old-timers. But I saw lots of Hispanic teens and 20-somethings, some of whom seemed to tag along with their parents or their siblings– to an all-day catechetical conference.

hermana-glenda-2-730685.jpgI mentioned in my article that the archdiocese’s Catechetical Office, which ran the show, was smart enough to invite Sister Hermana Glenda, a guitar-strumming nun who is incredibly popular in Spain and Latin America. She sang in Spanish and English and brought down the house (quietly).

Boy, was she good. A powerful presence in a gray habit. And a new voice for a “new” Catholic Church in New York.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.