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BC Professor to Conduct National Study of Hispanic Ministry in Catholic Parishes

$200,000 grant to undertake the largest and most comprehensive study of Hispanic ministry in Catholic parishes in the United States

School of Theology and Ministry's Hosffman Ospino

By Kathleen Sullivan | Chronicle Staff

Published: Jun. 23, 2011

The Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (STM) has received a $200,000 grant to undertake what is believed to be the largest and most comprehensive study of Hispanic ministry in Catholic parishes in the United States.

The two-year study, to be directed by STM Assistant Professor Hosffman Ospino, will survey parishes, missions and shrines nationwide to assess the impact of the Hispanic presence at the parish level and determine how parishes are meeting the spiritual needs of the fastest-growing group in the U.S. Catholic Church.

“While more than 40 percent of the total Catholic population and more than 55 percent of Catholics under the age of 18 are Hispanic, there is little data and consequent analysis available focusing on the experience of Hispanic Catholics at the parish level. We hope to address this gap,” said Ospino, who directs Hispanic ministry programs at STM and is actively involved in Hispanic ministry in Boston. It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of all U.S. Catholic parishes (approximately 5,500) have developed some form of Hispanic ministry.

The National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry will explore three areas: models of Hispanic ministry; leadership in Hispanic ministry, and religious education in Hispanic parishes. The data and analysis from the study will provide vital and timely information for U.S. bishops and those involved in pastoral planning and resource allocation at the local, regional and national levels, according to Ospino.

Ospino added that the study results will also be of interest to universities and seminaries, particularly as they relate to teaching on Hispanic Catholicism and student formation programs, as well as to philanthropies and non-profit organizations that are committed to advancing the mission of the Catholic Church and responding to its greatest needs.

Ospino is editor of, and a contributor to, Hispanic Ministry in the 21st Century: Present and Future. He serves as an officer in the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States.

“Boston College has been at the forefront of educating ministers for service to an increasingly Hispanic Catholic population and is well-positioned to conduct this landmark study in collaboration with partners who share its mission of service to the Church,” said Ospino.