Santa Clara University Convenes Hispanic Institute July 15, for Leaders in Hispanic Catholic Ministry

Nearly four dozen U.S. Catholic leaders who minister to Hispanic

populations will convene in Berkeley, California, starting July 15 for

two weeks of advanced theology and pastoral leader training.

The program is the Instituto Hispano, or Hispanic Institute,

being held at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

July 15 – 27. The institute, which will celebrate its 25th

year in 2013, is an intensive program for Catholic leaders, primarily

laity, who minister to or lead the growing number of Hispanic and

Spanish-speaking Catholics across the U.S.

“We are looking forward to welcoming our class of new and returning

students to the Instituto Hispano,” said Fr. Rob McChesney, S.J.,

the interim director of the program. “Every year our students tell us

how valuable they find this opportunity, to learn from outstanding

theologians and one another how to best serve a population that in 20

years will represent a majority of Catholics in the United States.”

The courses — such as Church history, fundamental moral theology and

Christology — are traditional theology-school fare, but they are taught

entirely in Spanish with a focus on how those fields fit contextually

with Hispanic traditions or the immigrant heritage of the Catholic


This year’s class members come from states including California,

Missouri, Colorado, Washington, Texas and Oregon. They include deacons,

nuns and laity serving Catholic dioceses and parishes as directors of

religious education or faith formation, catechists, music or liturgy

ministry leaders, or RCIA leaders. Most who attend are Hispanic

themselves — originally from countries including Mexico, Guatemala, El

Salvador, Nicaragua or Peru — and are seeking a greater integration of

their rich pastoral experience with the best of Catholic theology and


At the end of the summer, participants receive a certificate of

achievement and five continuing education credits. Additionally, after

completing three consecutive summers at the Institute, students receive

a certificate in theological and pastoral studies from JST. This summer,

for the first time, three students will take an additional course for

three graduate credits. In this way JST seeks to identify qualified

Hispanic students who might pursue degree studies at JST in Berkeley or

the SCU campus.

Professors from JST, Loyola Marymount University, Santa Clara

University, ITESO of Mexico (the Jesuit university of Guadalajara) and

Ramón Llull Universidad Barcelona, will teach the Institute courses on

JST’s campus near the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley. SCU

President Michael Engh, S.J., will present the certificates to graduates

on July 27 on the Berkeley campus.

About the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University

The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in

Berkeley, California, is a preeminent international center for the

culturally contextualized study of theology. Its mission is to inspire

and prepare men and women to become leaders in the Church, academy, and

society, serving others through a faith that does justice. Rooted in

Ignatian spirituality, JST educates and trains Jesuits, religious,

ordained, and lay students from across the United States and from 40

other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship.