Hispanic business and community leaders met with regional bishops, including Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, at the St. Malo Conference Center in the Archdiocese of Denver August 20-22 to discuss the challenges and opportunities posed by rapid Hispanic growth not only in Colorado – 73 percent in the past decade – but also throughout the region.
Bishops Cipriano Calderon Polo, member of the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops and Former President of the Pontifical Council for Latin America, José Gomez, Auxiliary of Denver, Thomas Olmsted, Bishop of Phoenix, Arizona, Raymundo Peña of Brownsville, Texas, David L. Ricken of Cheyenne, Wyoming and Michael Sheridan, Bishop of Colorado Springs, Colorado were all present at the three day conference.
Along with the laypeople present, who included Roberto Dañino, Vice-President of the World Bank, Manuel Lujan, former Secretary of Interior of the Bush senior administration, and Dr. Christine Johnson, President of the Community College of Denver (Colorado), They reviewed relevant social data and their pastoral implications, and comprehensively discussed their economic and political dimensions, concluding that both practical guidance and urgent action from the Church community in addressing these issues are necessary.
In reviewing the body of recent Church teaching, they say they were “struck by the continuing power of Pope John Paul’s Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America’s content”, its call to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ, its emphasis on conversion, communion and Catholic solidarity in addressing our communities’ problems, and its focus on the decisive role of laypeople in this effort.
Participants committed themselves to begin a process of applying Ecclesia in America to the pastoral and social challenges facing their local communities. They also announced they will reconvene before August 30, 2005, to “share and assess the results of our local efforts and develop a plan for broadening successes to other communities.”
The lay participantss in the event were Jaime Antunez, Director of the Humanitas Cultural magazine from Santiago, Chile, Ronald Montoya, President and CEO of Plasticomm Industries (Colorado), Paul R. Perez, Perez Asset Management (California),
Monica A. Pleiman, President and CEO of Optimum Management Systems, John V. Saeman, Founding Partner of Medallion Enterprises, Mike Day, Owner and President of North Star (Montana), Tommy Espinoza, President an CEO of Raza Development Fund (Arizona), Francisco Garcia, Preasident and CEO of IITC (Colorado), Andres Ruzo, Owner and CEO of Link America (Texas), Ricardo Saldivar Regional President of The Home Depot (Mexico), and Anthony Tenorio, President, Owner and CEO of Applied Technology Associates.