Students finish the second edition of ‘Semillas’

By Ariadne Rodriguez
Special to The Witness

REINBECK — On Oct. 5, at St. Gabriel Church in Reinbeck, accompanied by Archbishop Michael Jackels, 18 students finished “Semillas.” Now in its second edition, the faith formation program for Spanish-speaking Catholics of the Archdiocese of Dubuque was led by Sister Rita Menart, PBVM. At the graduation, participants were sent out to communicate Jesus’ good news.

“Semillas,” named for the Spanish word for seeds, takes two years to complete. Those who enroll wish to be nourished  with the love of Christ and learn about the Catholic faith.

During the morning of the recent gathering, participants completed Johari windows. The Johari window model  is an exercise that aims to build trust and self-awareness. It involves writing down information about one’s self in four different quadrants and then discussing the “window” with others. The Semillas class used the exercise to learn more about themselves and discover the best each person had to offer to God.

Before eating lunch, Archbishop Jackels celebrated Mass in Spanish and gave out certificates of participation. The liturgy elicited a rush of emotion for those that attended, as it marked the culmination of months of prayer and work. The certificates were a well-deserved recognition for those who didn’t miss a single class.

In the afternoon, after a presentation led by Sister Christine Fegan, OP, a religious who serves in Marshalltown, Gustavo Jimenez, the Hispanic ministry coordinator for Holy Family Parish in New Hampton, encouraged all to become saints. He gave practical advice on how to do this that was taken from Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortations “Gaudete et Exsultate”  and “Evangelii Gaudium.” The documents focus on the call to holiness and the proclamation of the Gospel in today’s world.

The 18 newest graduates, accompanied by the participants of the first edition of “Seeds,” announced in loud voices the commitment that each one has.  The class affirmed that they are called by God, our father. In a symbolic ceremony, hand in hand with Mary, they asked for the intercession of St. Martin de Porres, a Dominican brother from Peru known for his personal holiness. The graduates placed their sorrows and joys, represented by grains of salt and sugar, in holy water, which was packaged in a small bottle. The holy water will accompany them as a “fluid” on the missionary road they began on the day of their graduation from the Seeds program. To close the ceremony,  graduates lit candles one by one, asking God to guide them as lights of the world as they interact with all who cross their paths.

We congratulate everyone who finished the Seeds program and pray that they continue growing in faith. We are looking forward to a different ongoing formation journey.

We invite all those interested to sign up for the third edition of Seeds, which will be held in 2020 and 2021.  Please contact Ariadne Rodriguez, director of the Hispanic Ministry Office of the Archdiocese of Dubuque, by phone at 319-364 7121 or 319-259 2366 or the Hispanic coordinator at your parish for more information.

Editor’s note: This is an edited English language version of an article that was originally written in Spanish. The Spanish version appears below.


Estudiantes terminan el segunda edición de ‘Semillas’

Por Ariadne Rodriguez
Especial para The Witness

REINBECK — El pasado 5 de Octubre, desde St. Gabriel Iglesia en Reinbeck y acompañados por el Arzobispo Michael Jackels, se realizó el envío a comunicar “la buena nueva de Jesús” de los 18 estudiantes que terminaron el curso “Semillas,” en su segunda edición, de la mano de Hermana Rita Menart, PBVM.

“Semillas” es un programa de formación Católica en español, de dos años de duración, que ofrece la Arquidiócesis a los hispanos hablantes ávidos de nutrirse del amor de Cristo y conocer la fe Católica.

En horas de la mañana y agrupados en mesas de trabajo los participantes discutieron “la ventana de Johari” y profundizaron en su YO, armando el rompecabezas de sus vidas para descubrir lo mejor de cada uno y ofrecerlo a Papa Dios.

Antes de compartir un delicioso almuerzo, Arzobispo Jackels celebró una emotiva eucaristía en español y entregó los certificados de participación, haciendo un merecido reconocimiento a aquellos que no perdieron ni una sola clase.

En horas de la tarde y tras celebrar una divertida dinámica dirigida por ­Hermana Christine Fegan, OP, Gustavo Jimenz, el coordinador Hispano de New Hampton nos invito a ser santos de una manera práctica tomando como base la exhortación apostólica “Gaudete et Exsultate” incitándonos a salir y evangelizar según nos lo indica la “Evangelii Gaudium.”

Con esta introducción los 18 nuevos graduandos, acompañados por los participantes de la primero edición de “semillas”, procedieron a anunciar a viva voz el compromiso a que cada uno esta siendo llamado por nuestro Padre y en una simbólica ceremonia, de la mano con María y pidiendo la intercesión de San Martin de Porres, depositaron sus penas y alegrías representadas por granos de sal y azúcar, en agua bendita, la cual envasada en una pequeña botella los acompañará a manera de “suero fortalecedor” en la nueva jornada misionera que ese día comenzaron, al encender cada uno su vela que les guiara siendo luz del mundo entre todos los que crucen sus camino.

Felicidades y continúen creciendo en la Fe, les esperamos el año entrante en las diferentes jornadas de formación permanente que estaremos realizando.

Aprovechamos la ocasión para invitar a todos aquellos interesados a inscribirse en la tercera edición de “Semillas 2020 – 2021,” favor comunicarse con Ariadne Rodriguez, al Ministerio Hispano de la Arquidiócesis de Dubuque, por los teléfonos 319-364 7121 o 319-259 2366 o en sus parroquias con el coordinador Hispano.



Participants in the second edition of the Semillas program are shown at St. Gabriel Church in Reinbeck Oct. 5 holding their certificates of completion from the faith formation program for Spanish-speaking Catholics of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Archbishop Michael Jackels (back row, second from right) and Hispanic ministry personnel from various parishes, including lay people, religious and clergy, are also shown. (Contributed photo)


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