As the observance of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) begins, Bishop Arturo Cepeda, auxiliary bishop of Detroit and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ (USCCB) Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs says both the Catholic Church and American society must acknowledge the historic and current contributions of Hispanic and Latino leadership in all spheres of church and society.

This year, Hispanic Heritage Month is especially meaningful as the Catholic Church in the United States is reaping the fruits of a four-year process called the V {Fifth} National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry. The main goal of the V Encuentro has been to discern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the Hispanic/Latino presence and to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the entire Church and society. The V Encuentro and the previous four Encuentros have recognized how Hispanics/Latinos have been woven into the very fabric of Church and society in the U.S. for many generations.

In preparation for, and during the V Encuentro process, significant demographic research was conducted and aggregated on the presence of Latinos in the Church and in U.S. society. Some of the findings include the fact that from 1990 to 2016, the U.S. Hispanic/Latino Catholic population increased by about 13.7 million, while the overall U.S. Catholic population only increased by about 3.6 million. This demonstrates that Hispanics have been a major driving force behind the growth of the Catholic Church in the United States over the last three decades. An additional finding was that the percentage of U.S. Hispanics/Latinos who were Catholic in 2016 was 52%, and just over half of the Catholics under age 50 were Hispanic/Latino. These and other statistics are included in the V Encuentro demographic research report.

Praise the Lord

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