The big Catholic story

I should have mentioned this before now, but…

Fordham U’s Lincoln Center campus is hosting a very interesting and timely forum TONIGHT called “Becoming Latino: The Transformation of U.S. Catholicism.”

We all know that the Catholic Church in the U.S. is quickly becoming an Hispanic church, but how much attention has been given to what this really means?

When I attended a catechetical convention put on by the Archdiocese of NY last year at the Westchester County Center, it was immediately apparent that most of the catechists there were Hispanic.

But there seems to be an unwitting quasi-segregation in much of the church. You have largely white parishes and largely Hispanic parishes. Many parishes have English-speaking Masses and separate Spanish-language Masses for Hispanics.

People still think of the Catholic Church in New York as an Irish church, but it really isn’t anymore.

When Archbishop Dolan got to New York, he said several times that there is a perception that the Catholic Church faces a “Hispanic problem” or “Hispanic challenge.” He refuted this notion, of course.

Here’s the line-up for tonight: Luis Lugo, director, Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life; Claudio Burgaleta, S.J., coordinator, Latino studies program, Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University; Arturo J. BaƱuelas, pastor, St. Pius X Church, El Paso, Texas; and Maria Odom, executive director, Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc. (CLINIC), Washington, D.C.

The moderator will be Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., executive director, Office for Cultural Diversity in the Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

It’s 6-8 p.m. The Lincoln Center campus is at 113 West 60th Street.

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.