Catholic New World: Newspaper for the Archdiocese of Chicago

Program welcomes three priests from Latin America

The Archdiocese of Chicago said “bienvenidos” to three Latin American priests this month as part of a new pilot program to help them get acclimated to ministry in the United States.

The five-day program aims to give priests coming in from Mexico and Central and South America an overview of ministry in the archdiocese and life in the United States. The priests were accompanied by Father Claudio Diaz, the director of Hispanic Ministry, and Bishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, episcopal liaison to the Hispanic community.

They met at Casa Jesus, a house of formation for young men from Latin America who are discerning whether they have a vocation to the priesthood.

Participants shared daily Mass and prayers. They also visited many Hispanic neighborhoods and parishes and the Pastoral Center and met with archdiocesan personnel from a variety of departments, including the Office for Research and Planning, the Office for Peace and Justice and the Office for Communications.

The priests met with religious, lay people and priests to talk about their experiences living, working and worshipping in the local church to give them an idea of what it’s like to live and minister in the archdiocese.

According to the proposal for the program, the purpose was to give the participants of the program a sense of the reality of the archdiocese, including how big it is, how it functions and how diverse it is.

The introduction also aimed to help the priests understand what it means to work pastorally, with lay people, women, and deacons; to emphasize the importance of learning English so that they could be better instruments and pastoral agents; and to give them a sense of belonging and identity linked to the archdiocese and at the same time to acknowledge where they are coming from and make them feel welcomed.

Participants in the pilot session were Father Armando Ramirez Ruiz, associate pastor at Holy Family Parish in Waukegan, who is from Mexico; Father Libardo Ladino Diaz, who is living at St. Turibius Parish and is from Colombia; and Father Alejandro Marca, associate pastor at St. Victor Parish in Calumet City, who is from Peru.