“We cannot stand [by] uselessly. There is an important urgency to which we have to respond... to go proclaim the gospel to young Hispanics that are U.S.-born.”
Del Real, the youngest of seven children, emigrated to the U.S. from Mexico with his family when he was 15.
After an awakening of his faith in his late teens, Del Real was inspired to create a ministry to nurture the faith of young Latinos who had been born in the United States.
The name of the ministry, “Iskali,” comes from a Nahuatl (Aztec) word meaning “growth,” spoken by Our Lady of Guadalupe to St. Juan Diego.
Del Real says many Latino children of immigrants growing up in the United States do not have the same rooted Catholic culture or devotions that their parents may have had, and thus it is important to nurture a “conviction” within young Latinos to live out their faith.
Through its programs, Iskali tries to encourage Latino youth to seek a personal encounter with Jesus, and then take that faith and live it out in the context of small groups and their broader community.
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"Receiving this recognition is of special importance, since the initiative for which I am recognized is inspired by my Catholic faith and my desire to share my faith with other young people,” Del Real continued.
“The fact that the fruits and the impact of a project that seeks to bring the joy and hope of the gospel to Hispanic young people are being recognized by society, serves as a reminder to continue as there is much more work to be done.”
Del Real has often cited the inspiration of Pope Francis for his ministry, including the pope’s 2019 apostolic exhortation Christus Vivit.