Diocese of Allentown School and Parish Leaders Attend Latino Recruitment Symposium
Just over one hundred learners in the Diocese of Allentown enjoyed a day of insight and entertainment at the Latino Recruitment Symposium at DeSales University Center. Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C., presented on how Catholic schools and parishes can be culturally responsive to a Latino world. Fr. Joe serves as Director of Notre Dame’s Catholic School Advantage Campaign and oversees university-school partnerships in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE). He leads the initiative that is striving to double the percentage of Latinos who send their children to Catholic elementary and secondary schools by 2020.
Today’s symposium drew attendance by 33 principals as well as pastors, advancement and development staff and school board members from across five counties. The event was sponsored by the Diocese of Allentown, the Healey Education Foundation and an anonymous donor.
In opening remarks, the Most Rev. John O. Barres, Bishop of Allentown, spoke of the shared mission to serve Latino families. The ultimate goal, said Bishop Barres, is liturgical formation for all of our students who “really understand the cosmic power of the Catholic Mass and realize the inspired Word of God is the light and lamp for their steps.”
In his customary style, Fr. Joe combined lighthearted storytelling with the sharing of best practices for attracting Latino families to Catholic schools. He described the demographic shift in the US population and in the Church. While approximately 70 percent of all practicing Catholics under the age of 35 are Latino, only three percent of school-aged Latino children are enrolled in Catholic schools.
Integration? Assimilation? These are the wrong words. Instead we should be asking this question: How do we honor what everyone brings to the table? — Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.
Fr. Joe then shared some workings of the ACE Madrinas Model, an outreach program to recruit and retain Latino families in Catholic schools. This model engages and trains a team of Madrinas—“godmothers” in Spanish—who serve as liaisons, ambassadors and translators between the Catholic schools and Latino families in the community. The Madrinas take on three vital roles: marketing, recruiting and mentoring new families.
In October 2016, for the first time Notre Dame will take its Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) Program on the road. The Mid-Atlantic event will be open to other area dioceses and will be co-presented by ACE, the Diocese of Allentown and the Healey Education Foundation.
See related post Thank You Father Joe Corpora, C.S.C.