November 30, 2018
Four Mount Saint Mary College faculty and staff members recently attended the “El Futuro is Here!” conference held at Dominican University. Left to right: Roger May Jr., resident director for Guzman Hall; Sr. Peggy Murphy, OP, professor of Religious Studies; Victor Azuaje, associate professor of Hispanic Studies, and Charles Zola, associate professor of Philosophy, director of the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute, and Assistant to the President for Mission Integration.
Four Mount Saint Mary College faculty and staff members recently attended the “El Futuro is Here! Doing Campus Ministry and Theological Education Latinamente” conference held at Dominican University in Fall River, Ill.
The conference inspired Catholic colleges and universities to better suit the spiritual and academic needs of the young Latino population.
The three-day conference for undergraduate ministers, educators, and student leaders drew about 100 participants from nearly 40 schools, including Notre Dame de Namur University, and Boston College. Attending from the Mount were Sr. Peggy Murphy, OP, professor of Religious Studies; Roger May, Jr., resident director for Guzman Hall; Victor Azuaje, associate professor of Hispanic Studies, and Charles Zola, associate professor of Philosophy, director of the Mount’s Catholic and Dominican Institute, and Assistant to the President for Mission Integration.
Sr. Murphy said the conference afforded an “increased understanding of the growth of the Latino community, and especially the number of Hispanic young people of college-age. It was a very hopeful experience of the vitality of the Catholic tradition.”
It was revealed at the conference that about 40 percent of the Catholic Church in America is Latino. But as Zola notes, Latinos represent far fewer than 40 percent of students enrolled in Catholic colleges and universities.
It’s an especially important topic for Mount Saint Mary College, said Zola. The college, located in in Newburgh, N.Y., is part of a community with a sizable Latino population.
“This speaks to our Dominican mission and identity,” said Zola. “It’s not just a matter of enrollment, but also of community outreach and service.”
Sr. Murphy said the experience helped to mold her into a better educator.
“I gained a deeper understanding of the cultural and generational traditions and devotions that are still very significant [for the Latino population’s] connection to Catholicism,” she explained. “I have included these new understandings in my teaching of Dia de los Muertos and the generational significance of Our Lady of Guadalupe.”
The keynote address, “Catholic Colleges and Universities in an Increasingly Hispanic Church,” was given by Hosffman Ospino, associate professor of Theology and Religious Education, and Director of Graduate Programs in Hispanic Ministry from Boston College, School of Theology and Ministry. Conference goers also enjoyed lectures, panel discussions featuring leading experts, workshops on a variety of topics, and more.