Priority Pastoral Formation

Summary - Working Document


This document provides an overview of the working document of the pastoral formation group, highlighting key themes related to the overall scope and nature of pastoral formation.

Formation for all ministries in Hispanic/Latino communities calls for strengthening intentional efforts to identify, invite and form new ministers/leaders. A sampling of national formation   organizations, colleges, and institutions noted that there has been an increase in programs either completely Hispanic/Latino or with several components of Hispanic Ministry Principles, particularly in the areas of Hispanic bilingual/Spanish synodal listening and pastoral planning processes, bilingual/Spanish/English Workshops on Building Intercultural Competence for Ministry (and beyond), and Bilingual/Spanish spiritual/intellectual/pastoral skills/human formation workshops.  However, there are still too few resources in the forms of finances, trained personnel, and availability of programs in all areas of education, spiritual formation, particularly when the faithful are overwhelmed by basic needs (e.g., jobs, food, home security, etc.).

In the spirit of synodality calling us to greater communion, participation, and mission, we share these themes and insights related to pastoral formation to help frame our dialogue and engender further discussion:

– Pastoral formation founded in the living Christ
– Integral, systemic, on-going formation, and practical training
– Intercultural competency incarnated in the reality of the community
– Pastoral care, accompaniment, and witness
– Competence in a variety of distinct situations


Pastoral formation founded in the living Christ

Pastoral formation must equip Hispanic pastoral agents and leaders to do ministry and pastoral accompaniment in a missionary tone, focusing on experiences of encounter with the living Christ. We believe that pastoral formation, at every level of ecclesial life and ministry, must proactively affirm and encourage this missionary or apostolic character. Hispanic/Latino ministry formation demands commitment to ongoing pastoral conversation, theological study and spiritual reflection, professional development and proactive pastoral engagement with the Hispanic community and larger Church and society. It must foster new leaders and assist in the pastoral and spiritual growth of current leaders, so they become a living witness to our faith in word and deed.

Comprehensive, systemic, on-going formation and practical training

Pastoral formation and planning for Hispanic/Latino ministry must remain integral, systemic, practical and includes all ecclesial levels—from the arch/diocese to the parish and to ecclesial movements. This vision calls for inclusive collaboration between clergy and the laity, beyond clericalism. We need to continue aligning pastoral formation programs with practical trainings that correspond to the “signs of the times,” responding to the diverse cultural, social, and spiritual needs of the Hispanic communities. In addition, ministry leaders and administrators should lead the way in allocating best practices in human resources (e.g., suitable budgets, personnel, just wages and benefits, etc.), and cultivating a culture of leadership grounded in service and the common good.

Intercultural competency incarnated in the reality of the community

Pastoral formation must insist on being intercultural, fostering intentional encounters with the different cultural communities in our Church and society. It is vital for Church leadership and Hispanic pastoral agents, at every level, to build greater intercultural competence in ministry and continue to practice the pastoral principle of inculturation in our respective ministries.  Pastoral formation needs to incorporate and reflect the wisdom, values, and customs of the People of God. Of particular concern is to ensure that pastoral formation reflects an active commitment to the Catholic Social Teaching, and our Hispanic “gente-puente” principle, calling us to build greater bridges of dialogue and collaboration across cultural lines.  

Pastoral care, accompaniment, and witness

Pastoral formation must include instruction, appropriate professional training, and experience in pastoral care and accompaniment. Pastoral agents should be able to accompany, offer direct spiritual support, guidance, and referrals to the various populations they serve, like youth and young adults, families, immigrants and refugees, and undocumented members of the community.  Pastoral care, accompaniment and witness also needs Church leadership and pastoral agents to be accessible at every level. Pastoral care and accompaniment should reflect Church’s preferential love and care for the most vulnerable and excluded in our communities. This includes amplifying its advocacy on behalf of human life from birth to natural death.

Competence in a variety of distinct situation

Building on the best practices developed in past initiatives, pastoral formation for ministry with the Hispanic/Latino community should incorporate diversity of methods, models, and expressions. It must begin with initial formation and continue with on-going formation. Approaches to ministry must be relevant and respond to the social, cultural, linguistic, and geographic context and needs. Examples of distinct pastoral formation areas that need our ongoing attention include: Evangelization and Catechesis; Marriage and Family life; Catholic Education, Lay Leadership Formation, Urban and Rural Ministry, Pastoral Juvenil.  Of particular concern it to ensure that our formation reflect a commitment to persons and communities in the peripheries of the Church and society, for example our ministry to indigenous communities, the incarcerated, and those with mental and other disabilities.


Examining and engaging these recurring themes provides the opportunity for each person/group to offer their respective resources, access points, and cultural gifts for discernment to meet the needs of the Hispanic/Latino Church. Balance in attending to local and national needs should guide our mutual work and programs. As we collaboratively develop long-term plans steeped in our mutual call to communion, participation and mission, we must respect the core identity of each person and organization, strive to meet the needs of our respective communities, while creating opportunities for building bridges of dialogue and collaboration. The Church in the United States has been blessed with numerous initiatives, beginning with initial formation through on-going formation, that responded to the Hispanic/Latino presence. Our work today seeks to honor those achievements and continue to build on those successes for the life and mission of the church.

Pastoral Formation Team

Team Lead: Dr. F. Javier Orozco, OFS, PhD

Executive Director, Human Dignity and Intercultural Affairs, Archdiocese of St. Louis
President of the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry

Dr. William Becerra, D.Min

Associate Director, Office of Hispanic & Ethnic Ministries 
Diocese of Joliet

Peter Ductrám, M.Div., M.A.

Senior Director of Ministries, Diocese of Dallas
President of the Federation of Pastoral Institutes

Sr. Elizabeth Ann Guerrero, MCDP

Executive Director – AHLMA-Asoc. Hnas. Latinas Misioneras en América

Saul Llacsa

Coordinator of Hispanic Ministry, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Rita Ann Martinez, M.A.

Bilingual Strategic Sales Consultant, Augustine Institute

Deacon Manuel Rodriguez

Representative – Asociación Nacional de Diáconos Hispanos

Marilyn Santos, M.A.

Associate Director, Secretariat of Evangelization & Catechesis,
United States Catholic Conference of Bishops (USCCB)

Dr. Olga Lucía Villar, D.Min 

Executive Director, Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI)

Pastoral Formation Raíces y Alas sessions

Keynote Presentation & Representative Panel 

Keynote Presentation: Leadership and Formation in the Church: Questions and Directions

Presenter: Saul Llacsa, Hispanic Ministry Coordinator, Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Panelists:  Sr Elizabeth Ann Guerrero, MCDP (Religious); Gabriella Escalante (SEPI); Miriam Hidalgo (Parish, Archdiocese of Hartford) and Peter Ductram (Diocesan, Diocese of Dallas)

Three Workshops/Sessions

Catechesis Today: Encounter, Accompaniment, and Missionary Discipleship

Description:  Using the See, Judge, Act process, this session will engage and lead catechetical leaders in dialogue on how to best serve the community through discussion and implementation.  Using the V Encuentro conclusions, the Directory for Catechesis, and other sources participants will share best practices and create a network for continued support in the journey.

Rita Martinez, MA, Bilingual Catechetical Strategic Sales Consultant, Augustine Institute
Marilyn Santos, MA, Associate Director, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Work and Service in the Church: Beyond Voluntarism

Description: This session will engage participants in a critical multidimensional conversation on the challenge of responding to the call to form missionary disciples, while also addressing the need to advocate for just wages. This discussion will ask how we walk together concretely from our distinct realities, support our baptismal call to service, and engage in professional networking that leads to successful work opportunity outcomes.

Olga Lucia Villar, D.Min, Executive Director, Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI)
Ms. Gabriella Escalante, Assistant to Pastoral Juvenil Director/Social Media Coordinator, Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI)
Sr Elizabeth Ann Guerrero, MCDP, M.A., Executive Director, Asociación de Hermanas Latinas Misioneras en América (AHLMA)

How are we forming Hispanics for Pastoral Leadership? 

Description: This session will engage participants in dialogue on the current state of pastoral formation offered to Hispanic leaders to serve in the U.S. Church, by providing an opportunity to dive deeper into the questions and directions of the keynote presentation and panel session.  

aul Llacsa, Hispanic Ministry Coordinator, Archdiocese of Indianapolis
William Becerra, D.Min., Associate Director, Office of Hispanic and Ethnic Ministries, Diocese of Joliet