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Spanish Apostolate offers new discipleship program, prepares for leadership congress

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A new four-week online formation program aims to turn Catholics into true disciples who recognize “that everything we have belongs to God,” said Joel de Loera, director of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate, which is sponsoring the program.

“If everything we have is a blessing from God, then what is my response to God bestowing all these blessings?” de Loera said. “Am I using my time, talents and treasure for God, or for myself?”

Titled “Diplomado en Discipulado para Servidores” (“Certificate of Discipleship for Those Who Serve”), the sessions will be offered in Spanish on four consecutive Wednesdays Oct. 20-Nov. 10, at 7 p.m., on Zoom. Anyone who serves the church in any way, as a catechist, volunteer or member of a parish ministry, is invited to attend. 

The program was developed by Koren Ruiz, founder of Corresponsables de Dios (Stewards of God), an organization that specializes in inspiring greater stewardship and planned giving, mainly among Latino Catholics. Ruiz is a financial consultant, workshop presenter and composer of worship music, based in Portland, Ore. 

Father Jamie Workman, vicar general of the Arlington diocese, along with bishops from the archdioceses of Washington and Baltimore, and the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, W.V., will participate in the workshops, leading prayers and sharing reflections, de Loera said.

“I value and appreciate the collaborative efforts of our regional directors of Hispanic Ministry to bring this formation on discipleship to our region’s faithful,” said Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. 

“These workshops are extremely important for our leaders, because they remind us that we are called to do everything for God’s greater glory,” Father Workman added. “Everything we have comes from God, and everything we do should reflect this truth.” 

Cultivating authentic discipleship in Christ is one of the six “pillars” of the new strategic plan announced by Bishop Michael F. Burbidge in late September. The plan says discipleship involves actively engaging Catholics in the church’s apostolic mission, helping them to grow in holiness and to inspire them to identify their God-given gifts to serve the church as catechists, leaders and volunteers.


De Loera said among other initiatives, his office is coordinating plans for Raices y Alas 2022, the National Leadership Congress on Hispanic Ministry, scheduled for April 26-30 in Arlington. The meeting’s full title in English is “Roots and Wings 2022, Prophetic Voices: Being Bridges to a New Era.”

Hispanic ministry leaders from dioceses and other religious organizations, in collaboration with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Hispanic/Latino Affairs, “will gather for an in-depth dialog to discern and develop pastoral responses and initiatives to the ministerial priorities documented in the Conclusions of the V Encuentro and in the post-pandemic reality,” according to the congress website.

The site says the congress will focus on four pastoral priorities: family, Hispanic youth ministry, social justice and pastoral formation. A report will be presented to the USCCB as the leadership’s contributions for the national Hispanic ministry plan being proposed by the bishops. 

De Loera said Hispanic leaders from the Arlington diocese are being encouraged to attend Raíces y Alas 2022. The congress also will include a Day of Advocacy where Hispanic ministry leaders will meet with their legislators on Capitol Hill to advocate for comprehensive immigration reform and other important issues. 

Find out more

For more information on the discipleship program, email  marlene.orellana@arlingtondiocese.org. To learn more about the national leadership congress, contact the Spanish Apostolate office, 703/841-3883.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2021