Thank you, Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

June 16, 2016

We remember both the messenger and the message from the Latino Recruitment Symposium sponsored by the Diocese of Allentown, the Healey Education Foundation and an anonymous donor. Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C., Director of Notre Dame’s Catholic School Advantage Campaign, presented on recruiting and welcoming Latino children and families into Catholic schools. Those in the room would agree “you had to be there” for full effect. (We learned. We laughed.) In gratitude, we share a few takeaways.

“The language you learn to love God in is the language you love God in forever.” — Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C. Photo courtesy of the Alliance for Catholic Education, University of Notre Dame.

  • Increasing Latino enrollment is possible with time and a lot of work.
  • The Bishop must be supportive. It’s crucial that the superintendent makes this initiative a priority.
  • The more the school can operate like a community center, with the parish as a connecting point, the better it will serve the Latino population.
  • In marketing our schools, the front office should feel like home. Be sure the staff person knows how to engage people and likes his or her job. If possible, hire a front-office worker who is bilingual.
  • This initiative should be the responsibility of someone who understands the culture. (See the Alliance for Catholic Education Madrinas Model.)
  • Dioceses and schools should provide cultural competency training for staff.
  • Thriving schools require a combination of tuition, private philanthropy and public money. While relationships matter most, development, tax credits and vouchers must be part of the picture.
  • Think big and keep asking and answering questions: Could we employ a field consultant to work with all schools in this area? Institute differentiated tuition? Open one dual-language academy per diocese?

Fr. Joe is one of eight priests from the United States selected to work with Pope Francis as a Missionary of Mercy. Pope Francis selected candidates based on their demonstration of patience and humility to help spread the message of God’s mercy during this Jubilee Year of Mercy.