By Barb Arland-Fye
The Catholic Messenger
DAVENPORT — The mission of the Office of Multicultural Ministry is to respond to the spiritual needs of the different cultures present in the Diocese of Davenport. Miguel Moreno, the Multicultural Ministry coordinator, explained how he is working with people throughout the diocese to put that mission into action. He gave a presentation Aug. 20 to staff members at diocesan headquarters on current and future plans.
The Diocese of Davenport has an estimated 1,320 Black/African Americans/Africans; 2,726 Asian/ Pacific Islanders; 20,489 Hispanics/Latinos; and 362 American Indians/Alaskan natives. That information comes from a 2013 study on Cultural Diversity in the Catholic Church in the United States, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.
In his first year on the job, Moreno has spent time getting to know the priests, deacons and women religious who work with Hispanic communities. He has also gotten to know lay leaders of the parishes where Hispanic communities exist. “They share what the needs are in their own parishes,” Moreno said. In the future, he plans to meet with Catholics from other cultural communities as well.
On May 17 of this year, he had his first meeting with lay representatives of the different parishes which have Hispanic ministry or Hispanic presence. He also meets monthly with a group of clergy and women religious engaged in ministry to Spanish-speaking people. They call themselves Pastoral Agents in Hispanic Ministry. With the assistance of both groups, the Multicultural Ministry office designed a pastoral plan for the Hispanic community, Moreno said.
The pastoral plan features faith formation, workshops and activities for the coming year. Faith formation includes Bible classes, Spanish Ministry Formation Program, Engaged Encounter Program, and Marriage Encounter retreat. Workshops will be held on Quinceaneras, lector training and on serving as extraordinary ministers of Eucharist. Activities include a theological conference scheduled for October, a Gospel concert and Christian games (sports). He hopes Bishop Martin Amos will serve as the “coach” for a friendly volleyball competition between parishes with Hispanic presence.
Parishes with Hispanic ministry and Hispanic presence are Jesus Christ, Prince of Peace, Clinton; St. Joseph, Columbus Junction; St. Mary, Davenport; St. Patrick, Iowa City; St. Alphonsus, Mount Pleasant; Ss. Mary & Mathias, Muscatine; St. Mary, Oskaloosa; St. Mary of the Visitation, Ottumwa; St. James, Washington; Ss. Mary & Patrick, West Burlington; and St. Joseph, West Liberty.
Moreno created a colorful poster and pocket-size brochures that identify all of the parishes, their Spanish Mass times, and the activities, workshops and programs for this coming year. He has distributed a number of the posters and will continue to share them.
“I want people to build community,” he said.
Bishop Amos said he is impressed with Moreno’s efforts in establishing and fostering the Hispanic Leadership Council and his collaboration with the Office of the Diaconate to work on preparing Hispanic Catholic men to serve as deacons in the diocese. “He doesn’t want to be the whole orchestra, but he’s very willing to lead the orchestra,” Bishop Amos observed.
“The good part about our mission is that it is always going to be a mission,” Moreno said. “We, the Office of Multicultural Ministry, know that what we reap today others have planted … from that fruit we get seeds that we will gladly plant, knowing that others will do the harvesting. That is our mission, not to start nor to finish, but to continue.
“We are a link in the chain that was started at the shores of the Sea of Galilee. We are the reality that others dreamt of, and at the same time, we are dreamers of a reality that will come on a day that will not be ours.
Our mission is there where God needs us.