US Hispanic-Leaders Group Presented in Rome

Association Aims to Promote Catholic Culture

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By Miriam Díez i Bosch



ROME, FEB. 26, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A San Antonio-based association of Latino leaders was presented to various members of the Roman Curia.

The Catholic Association of Latino Leaders, established to unite the many Spanish-speaking leaders in the fields of business, finance, education and politics who live in the United States, was presented in Rome by the president of the board of directors, Mario Paredes.

He affirmed that the objective of the group is to "work with the Church for the common good" and "serve Latino communities in the United States." It aims to strengthen Latino culture to renew public life in America.

Paredes, a director at Merrill Lynch & Co., said the Catholic identity of Latinos in the United States is very clear and strong: "Today, I believe that the identity of the Hispanic Catholic world in the United States is very clear, very open, and is very strong despite all the currents that have arisen recently against immigrants in the United States."

The group was first presented Jan. 16 in San Antonio. Archbishop José Gomez of San Antonio and Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, participated in the event, along with other priests and recognized Latino leaders.

On that occasion, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Petro Sambi, sent a message extending the "warm greetings, paternal affection and spiritual closeness of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI."

"The Holy father is confident that this praiseworthy initiative [...] will inspire in the Latino Catholic Community a renewed dedication in the pursuit of holiness and a steadfast commitment to the spread of the Gospel," the letter continued.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, also sent his greetings.

Paredes told ZENIT that "integration permits the Hispanic Catholic world to maintain its language, culture, identity and presence, and at the same time, brings it to enter into the life of the Catholic Church in the United States, taking on tasks and responsibilities."

"It is a world that lives and vibrates with Catholicism of the people, with popular religiosity, with a popular religious culture," Paredes said. He highlighted that the association wants to be a meeting place for professionals who want to impact the United States on a national level.

In Denver on March 25, the next national presentation of the Catholic Association of Latino Leaders will take place.