Diocese prepares for first Hispanic congress

By | September 7, 2011

The solution that the planning committee came up with was to put together a congress which would call all the various Hispanic groups from parishes around the diocese to come together for a day of inspiration and prayer. The topic for the day’s talks will be centered on the family and its challenges.


Fr. José Antonio Castañeda, parochial vicar at St. Bernard and St. Philip the Apostle parishes in Green Bay, is coordinating the Hispanic Congress. (Eddie O’Neill | For The Compass)

Hispanic Congress

What: Green Bay Diocesan Hispanic Congress

When: Saturday Sept. 24, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Notre Dame Academy, 610 Maryhill Drive, Green Bay

Cost: Free and open to all families

For more information: Contact Fr. José Antonio Castañeda, (920) 468-7848.

According to a press release, the theme of the family is a dire one as the institution of marriage is under serious attack these days. “The idea for this congress arose out of the necessity of orientation and strengthening the values of our families in society, especially in the Green Bay Diocese,” noted the press release. “We know that without the family there is no future. To believe in family life is to construct the future.”

Developing this family theme throughout the day will be Carlo and Lissa Mejia. According to Fr. Castañeda, the Mejias, who are originally from Mexico and have two children, are a well-traveled missionary family based in Milwaukee. They spend much of their time on the road giving talks and presentations and will tackle such topics as the challenges that families today face and the hopes that they maintain.

Sr. Pat Vanden Bergh, who serves as director of Hispanic ministry at St. Phillip, has nothing but good things to say about the Mejia family.

“They were here giving a parish mission several weeks ago,” Sr. Pat told The Compass. “They were excellent as they talked about the family. The church was packed each night.”

Sr. Pat added that she is excited about this event, as nothing like this at the diocesan level has ever been held. The timing couldn’t be better because the Hispanic community here in the diocese just keeps growing, she added. Both Sr. Pat and Fr. Castañeda said that large populations of Hispanics exist not just in Green Bay and Appleton but in Newton, Omro and in Sturgeon Bay.

“I think the event will be a real eye opener for all those in attendance as it will show the real face of the Hispanic community in our diocese,” Sr. Pat added.

The all-day free event, which will be conducted totally in Spanish, is open to all family members. While the adults and teens are taking in the talks by the Mejia family, children will be busy learning in age-appropriate activities as well. The day will end with the Sunday vigil Mass, which will celebrated by Bishop David Ricken.

Fr. Castañeda is hoping for around 300 people for this first congress. However, he and all those involved hope that this first event will be the spark for an annual gathering.


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