Leader of Largest U.S. Diocese Meets with Latino Scholars
Spiritual leader of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and President of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, Archbishop José Gómez , sat down with the Habiger Institute Latino Scholars for a virtual meet and greet on April 14. Gomez was originally scheduled to join some Latino Scholars program participants and President Julie Sullivan for an intimate, socially distanced dinner at Sitzmann Hall. Due to the surrounding events
in the Twin Cities that week, his campus visit and keynote appearance at the Minnesota Catholic Conference’s Catholics at the Capitol moved online. Despite the last-minute changes, the opportunity for small- group and one-on-one virtual conversations was a great gift for the students – three who are from his archdiocese. Two students were able to share with him their
personal stories in more depth, as well as talk about the support they have received from Latino Scholars as first-year students. Following the conversation was the dinner with Sullivan, which featured a Mexican-inspired menu developed and cooked by alumnus and California native Nicholas Check and his sous chefs in honor of Gomez’s heritage and Sullivan’s San Diego roots.
“I am so thankful for the opportunity I had to speak to Archbishop Gomez and share a little bit about my experience about being part of the program ... He seemed very interested in the program and very approachable. He reminded me how important Latino leaders are, especially with them constituting more and more of the population of the Church,” says Asusena Pacheco ’24 (elementary education, Catholic studies). “When Archbishop Gomez told us that 50% of young Catholics are Latino, it made me wonder why the Latin community and the Anglo communities are so distant from one another. Some churches have both Spanish and English-speaking communities, but they have never encountered each other,” says Eric Cortes ’22 (computer science, Catholic studies). “I have seen it happen where both communities gather as one. It is possible, and it would be a good thing for the Church.” Miguel Cruz ’23 (criminal justice, Catholic studies) found him to be a kind and wise man. “The figure he shared about the quantity of young Latino Catholics in the Church was a powerful thing to hear, especially as a Latino Scholar. He encouraged me to strive to hold fast to our faith and grow in it as a community of Latino students,” says Cruz.
Page 24 stthomas.edu/catholicstudies
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