Hispanic Heritage Month – which kicks off September 15 and runs through October 15 – is always filled with bountiful opportunities to observe, celebrate and learn about the rich tapestry of cultures and contributions of Hispanic Americans in the United States.
In our Diocese of Washington, we are fortunate to have five active Spanish-speaking faith communities that provide a spiritual home to people of many countries and traditions currently in five of the eight regions in the diocese. Each faith community is led by gifted and committed clergy and lay leaders. In addition, we recognize that there are many Latinos who attend other parishes that do not have a Spanish-speaking service.
“El Espíritu de Dios está en este lugar. El Espíritu de Dios se mueve en este lugar.” These words, from a hymn by Martin Estuardo Azurdia, are sung at many of our Latino worshiping communities, and translate to “The Spirit of God is in this place. The Spirit of God moves in this place” – a lyric that gets to the heart of the faith at work in the people in each of these communities even as that faith is expressed in unique ways. Hispanic Heritage Month invites us to devote intentional time to recognize and respect the diverse religious beliefs and practices within Hispanic and Latinx communities. Celebrating faith alongside culture is a way to appreciate the richness and depth of these communities and their contributions to American society.
For many, being part of our Latino faith communities provides a strong sense of belonging and often plays a significant role in the practice of Christianity, offering support, fellowship/convivio, opportunities for service, and most of all, a sense of familia.
Over the next few weeks, we will introduce you to a few lay leaders from our congregations across our social media platforms as they share with us how being a Latino/a/e/x informs their Christian identity as a follower of Jesus. As we celebrate this month, we invite you to worship with one of our Latino faith communities ranging from Northern Montgomery County to North Prince George’s County and the District.
¡Todos son bienvenidos! All are welcome!
Mildred Briones Reyes
Missioner for Latino/Hispanic Ministries and Diocesan Initiatives