Formation program for Spanish-speaking Catholics is growing in year two

By Dan Russo

Witness Editor

CEDAR RAPIDS — A faith formation effort specifically tailored for Spanish-­speaking Catholics in the Archdiocese of Dubuque is growing in its second year.

Semillas (Spanish for “seeds”) began with a pilot program in 2017. The first session of 2018 was held March 3 at Immaculate Conception Church in Cedar Rapids, drawing 71 participants, according to organizers.

“We started this last year because people have been asking for further formation,” said Sister Rita Menart, PBVM. “This year we are going to follow the study of the creed. We are hoping this develops. This year we are going to different parishes.”

Sister Rita Menart

Last year’s study focused on Scripture, the sacraments and the church. This year’s consists of six sessions that run from 8:30 a.m.-4 p.m. at various locations. The next class will take place at Mt. Mercy University April 8, followed by sessions in May, August, September and October.

Participants pay a fee of $30 and commit to attend all six sessions. The curriculum was developed by a formation team that includes Sister Rita, coordinator of Spanish-speakers retreats; Gustavo Jim­e­nez, Hispanic ministry coordinator in Holy Family, New Hampton; Rigoberto Real, deacon and Hispanic ministry coordinator in Queen of Peace, Waterloo; Sister Christine Feagan, OP, Hispanic ministry coordinator in St. Mary, Marshalltown; Naida Garza, Hispanic ministry coordinator in Immaculate Conception, Cedar Rapids.

In order to qualify for the course, participants must:

• Be a Spanish-speaking adult, 18 years old or older, of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, who has the desire for deeper formation to better serve the community.

• Have a recommendation of the pastoral agent or pastor.

  Have some capacity to read and write or someone to help them with reading and homework.      

• Have the ability to make the commitment to participate in the six classes during the year.

• Complete homework for the classes.

• Complete the registration form and send it in with the $30.00.

Each session usually features a speaker. In April, Father Lloyd (Sam) Cunningham, SVD, of Divine Word College in Epworth will be the guest lecturer. The schedule and themes for this year’s sessions are as follows:

• March 3 in Cedar Rapids – I Believe in Myself: Who is humanity?

• April 7 in Cedar Rapids – I Believe in God the Father: Who is God?

• May 5 in Waterloo – I Believe in Jesus: Who is Jesus?

• Aug. 4 in Marshalltown – I Believe in the Holy Spirit: Who is the Holy Spirit?

• Sept. 1 in New Hampton – I Believe in the church: Who is the church?

• Oct. 6 – Retreat location to be announced.

• Nov.  3 –  If there is a weather or other problem, this is the make-up date.

Registration for this year’s Semillas is closed, but if you would like more information about the program, contact Sister Rita at: 319-272-2138 (office) or 319-431-5129 (work cell).   

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