Diocesan Hispanic lay group leaders gather

Staff Report


Representatives from seven different Hispanic lay movements within the Diocese of Venice met with Bishop Frank J. Dewane on June 23 at Incarnation Parish in Sarasota.

The goal of the meeting was to update the Bishop on the activities of the different groups and to figure out ways to work together and with their local parishes, while always encouraging the faithful to keep a strong connection with Holy Mother Church.

Among the 23 attendees, Bishop Dewane was joined by Father Claudio Stewart, Director of the Hispanic Apostolate, and Father Jiobani Batista, Pastor of St. Margaret Parish in Clewiston and Spiritual Director of Emmaus.

The movements, represented were: Padres y Madres Orantes (Praying Fathers and Mothers); Council of Catholic Women (CCW); Cursillos de Cristiandad (Cursillo); Renovación Carismática (Charismatic Renewal); Marriage Renewal (MDS); Juan XXIII (St. John XXIII); and Emaús (Emmaus).

Representatives of each movement shared with the Bishop aspects of their particular charism and what they do locally to encourage more people to participate. A common theme of the movements is that each has a charism that is deeply spiritual with a stress on evangelization and key elements that include reaching out to those who are unchurched and perhaps marginalized.

Bishop Dewane said these movements serve an important role in the Church and the Parishes in which they exist. While some of the groups focus on individualized evangelization, the Bishop also encouraged them to seek to reach out to others and share their knowledge of the faith.

Praising the lay movement leaders, the Bishop said the Diocese is blessed to have them as they keep the charisms alive through a commitment and faith that is inspiring to others. However, he explained that they have a solemn duty to encourage participation and involvement at all levels, including those who might not be as active in the movement as others. “Reach out to them! Let them see the Spirit alive in you!!”

As movements leaders, they need to do more than organize retreats or larger gatherings for a select few, but to be open to bringing in new people to experience the richness of the Holy Spirit that emanates from each group.

During the meeting, Bishop Dewane also emphasized the need to communicate with parish priests to let them know about the group, their charism and to invite them to become involved.

Father Stewart spoke to the group about organizing events that include each chapter of a respective movement. “We have to remember the way of the Church, is a human service. It is very important to organize an event, but we organize events because of people.”

The meeting also covered the issue of finances and the need to improve Campo San Jose retreat center in Lake Placid.