Catholic Latinos to examine 'threatening' political landscape

Over 100 Catholic Hispanic leaders will gather in Miami, Florida Aug. 24-26 to discuss how to defend faith, family and religious freedom in contemporary America.

"This conference will be a critical opportunity for lay Catholic leaders from across the U.S. to find answers in today's threatening political landscape," Robert Aguirre, president and CEO of the San Antonio-based Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, said Aug. 6.

"All Catholics are called to be active participants in the political process, and have a civic and moral obligation to vote responsibly in the upcoming presidential election," Aguirre added.

The association is sponsoring its seventh annual gathering of business and community leaders at the Miami Marriot Biscayne Bay. The conference is titled "The Family: Evangelization and Public Witness."

Scheduled keynote speakers include Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, Prof. Robert A. Destro of Columbus School of Law, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson of the Knights of Columbus, Superintendent Alberto Vásquez Matós of the Diocese of St. Petersburg, and National Review Online editor Kathryn Jean Lopez.

Destro will discuss religious liberty while Carl Anderson will discuss the New Evangelization. Matos will talk about teaching faith and civic responsibility in Catholic schools.

The conference is also drawing the attendance of prominent churchmen.

Archbishop Thomas Wenski of Miami will attend the conference opening and serve as principal celebrant and homilist at the conference's Sunday Mass. Papal nuncio Archbishop Carlo Vigano will celebrate Mass and deliver a homily on Aug. 24. Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston will be the principal celebrant and homilist on Aug. 25.

Manny Garcia-Tuñon, a Miami businessman who is chapter president of CALL Miami, noted the importance of gathering together "as a family and a community of faith."

"As we look to the political decisions ahead of us, we will reflect on the importance of keeping true to the Church's teaching on key issues, including how to strengthen our most important social unit – the family," he said.

The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders is dedicated to promoting the common good of Latinos, the Catholic Church and the U.S.

It stresses the importance of "faithful citizenship" through finding new ways to preserve and promote their faith and its values.

Members, who include businessmen and professionals, take part in the association's prayer, education, service and leadership opportunities. The association also provides programs, services and events for local communities.

The organization has chapters in Los Angeles, Orange County, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Milwaukee, Miami and Washington, D.C.

Conference registration details are available at the association's website

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