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Renowned academic to help ‘re-imagine’ Catholic schools

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SAN DIEGO — One of the nation’s foremost experts in Hispanic ministry will headline a leadership conference in San Diego this summer.

Dr. Hosffman Ospino, associate professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, will address an audience of pastors, principals and directors of catechetical ministry on Thursday, Aug. 6, at the diocesan Pastoral Center.

The conference, titled “Time to Re-Imagine Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Diverse Church,” will begin at 8:30 a.m. and conclude at 2:45 p.m.

Co-sponsored by the diocesan Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry and the Office for Schools, the conference is part of a diocesan effort to better meet the needs of Hispanics, who currently comprise about two-thirds of the students enrolled at local Catholic schools, and to promote increased collaboration among Catholic schools and parish faith-formation programs in ministering to this community.

Ospino, who served as the principal investigator for 2014’s National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry and co-investigator for 2015’s National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families, said the face of Catholicism in the United States is rapidly changing as the result of significant cultural, demographic and religious dynamics.

Because of its proximity to the U.S.-Mexican border, he said, the San Diego Diocese is “at the epicenter” of these “important transformations,” which will require a re-examination of the role of Catholic schools in the 21st-century Church.

“Dr. Ospino is a national authority on Hispanic ministry, with incredible credentials and experience,” said John Galvan, director of the Office for Schools.

“We are blessed to welcome him into our local dialogue.”

Galvan believes that there is “great potential” for increasing the numbers of Hispanic students even further, but that this will only come about if “we are intentional in our efforts to become more culturally accessible, as well as more affordable.”

Diocesan Chancellor Maria Olivia Galván, who also serves as director of the Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry Office, describes Ospino as “a tremendously insightful and respected pastoral theologian” whose research has helped dioceses, parishes and schools nationwide to discover new ways “to embrace the pastoral needs of the growing Hispanic presence.”

“We must challenge ourselves to not do ‘business as usual,’” she said. “Our hope is that the statistics and results that will be shared at this conference will thrust our leadership to rethink ministry, rethink outreach and re-evaluate the processes currently in place.”

While Ospino will be the one presenting those statistics and providing his expert analysis, the Boston College professor hopes the conference will be a learning experience for him as well.

“I will share some thoughts, data and analysis emerging from current research to provide a state of the question vis-à-vis Catholic schools,” he said. “Yet, I look forward to hearing about how the people of God in San Diego are addressing the challenges that make Catholic education in our nation more urgent than ever.”

For more information or to RSVP for the conference, contact the Office for Evangelization and Catechetical Ministry at (858) 490-8230.

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