A group of more than 40 of the top Hispanic business leaders in the U.S. gathered this weekend for a retreat and conference at the St. Malo Catholic Retreat Center in Allenspark, Colorado.  Participants took part in an in-depth dialogue to discuss the economic, cultural, and spiritual contribution of Hispanics in the U.S.  The conference also included addresses from Dr. Guzman Carriquiry Lecour, Sub-Secretary of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for the Laity, Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio, Texas, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, and Bishop Thomas Wenski of Orlando, Florida.

Welcoming the participants on Friday evening, Archbishop Chaput laid out the responsibility of the business leaders, as men and women who have achieved a certain position in U.S. society, to speak out for all of their brothers and sisters with whom they share cultural and spiritual values.  “My hope is that, as Hispanics, you recognize that your faith is at the very core of the values you are bringing.  You just can’t loose that. If you loose that, you loose it all,” Chaput said.

Dr. Carriquiry said that the faith of Hispanic Catholics will play a role not only in the Church of the U.S. but worldwide.  Carriquiry pointed out that Catholics in North and South America make up 560 million of the world’s 1.08 billion Catholics.  And, he said, the percentage will continue to grow in the next decades.  “It would be naive or foolish or "ideological" not to keep in mind the weight of the numbers.”  

While Catholicism in the America’s is growing, Carriquiry said, “Europe faces a demographical suicide, it is economically and politically swamped and it seems to hate its own tradition, suffering a silent apostasy of the crowds, in great weakness before the Islamic siege.  The destiny of the whole of Catholicism, at least for the next decades of the 21st century, is in great measure being played in the presence and mission of the Catholic Church in the life of our peoples and nations, at an American level.”

Dr. Carriquiry, who spoke to the business leaders about Pope Benedict’s hopes for Hispanics in the U.S., warned against the “subjectivist drift” which occurs among many in modern western culture.  The Vatican official said that unfortunately many people, spurred on by the media and an individualistic culture tend to aim for cultural and religious pluralism which causes, “many Catholics to eventually compose…their own mix of beliefs, accepting and discarding arbitrarily the theological and moral truths under the custody and teaching of the catholic Church.” “Only the ‘truth will set you free,’” Carriquiry reminded.  

Carriquiry challenged those present to grow in fidelity and depth of faith in order to grow in the “richness of sanctity, charity, doctrine, morality, wisdom and the culture of the catholic tradition.”  Faith, he said, should grow in the midst of the changing world, indeed at the height of it.  And faith, “must be able to give reason of itself, of its reasonableness and convenience for people, of the inseparable and enriching synthesis of truth and liberty, of its strength and aptitude to serve more humanely in this society, of its capacity to host, include, embrace, purify, and exalt the best of the cultural and religious tradition of this country, of its ethical discernment to face very crucial and delicate questions that are raised in the field of scientific investigation, technological progress, legislation, politics and business including the international order.”

“A mentality and sensibility must be cultivated and grown that can gradually lead to a judgment of all of reality from the intelligence of the Catholic faith,” he said.

Archbishop Gomez said that with this Catholic view of reality, sanctity is possible for everyone.  

Telling the story of Blessed Salvador Huerta Gutiérrez, a new Mexican blessed, who was a business owner, Archbishop Gomez told the business leaders that there is no inherent contradiction between being a business owner and being a saint.  

“In fact,” the archbishop said, “I hope there are many among you who are striving, as you build your businesses and careers, to also grow in holiness, to become saints.”

“In God’s eyes, you are working for more than the bottom line, more than the next quarterly earnings report,” Gomez continued.  “It’s not that those things are unimportant. They are supremely important. God wants you to succeed and achieve. He wants you to be the very best you can be at what you do. God wants us to do our work well. But we have to do it with the right intention and attitude.”

“You are not working only for a salary or a commission; you’re not even working only for your clients or shareholders. You are working for God’s sake, as well. Everything you do, then, must be worthy of God.”

For more information on St. Malo Catholic Retreat, Conference, and Spiritual Center please visit their website.