.- More that 30 Catholic Latino businessmen and professionals from around the country gathered this past weekend at the Archdiocese of Denver to announce the creation of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL.) The group was created after some of the US bishops identified the need for ongoing dialogue with Catholic Latino leaders.
Members of the new association gathered at Saint Malo retreat house at the invitation of Most Reverend José Gomez, Archbishop of San Antonio and with Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap, as their host.
The participants at the 3rd Catholic Latino Leadership Conference explained that the creation of CALL came as a response to some of the bishops asking for a dialogue with Catholic laity who are in the business and professional sectors.
“Driven by our love for the Church and her mission, within the context of our culture, and in communion with the bishops,” the members of CALL committed themselves to being a national voice for Catholic, Latino business and professional leaders in the United States.
During the Conference, Archbishop Chaput spoke about the way that the American Catholic population is changing, saying, “the American landscape has changed.” “Demography is destiny. In the future, Hispanic Catholics will have a very serious influence on the direction of American society. And this is why I believe it’s time for Hispanics in general, and Hispanic leadership in particular, to take up the role that they deserve, and which they’ve earned, in the mission of the Church.”
The mission of the new organization will be to impact the national dialogue and contribute to the mission of the Church by identifying initiatives important to the building up of the Catholic community and if appropriate, support them in accordance with the bishops.
CALL will also support the implementation of the five priorities of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop’s Pastoral Plan for the next decade; namely, to restore and promote the sanctity of marriage and family; to educate and form people in the faith and the faithful celebration of the sacraments; to promote priestly and religious vocations; to promote the life and dignity of the human person; and to promote cultural diversity and Hispanic ministry.
Archbishop Gomez said during his remarks that “we might be tempted on some level to feel that somehow we must prove that we are real Americans. We might feel subtle pressures to blend in, to assimilate, to downplay our heritage and our distinctive identities as Catholics and Hispanics.”
“I believe that in God’s plan –he added-, the new Hispanic presence is for the purpose of our country’s spiritual renewal. To restore the promise of America’s youth. The noble ideals of our country’s beginnings. In this renewed encounter with Hispanic faith and culture, I believe God wants America to rediscover values it has lost sight of—the importance of religion, family, friendship, community, and the culture of life.”
“So I urge you friends: Do not forget where you came from or who you are! Do not forget Jesus. Do not forget the Church,” Archbishop Gomez concluded.
CALL will soon create a website and establish a national office.