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July 2016

St. Teresa Montes-Lara, director of Instituto Hispano

St. Teresa Montes-Lara, director of Instituto Hispano

Advancing Hispanic Pastoral Leadership

Catholic Leaders Address Unique Theological and Pastoral Needs of Hispanic Parishioners, at Instituto Hispano at Santa Clara University July 10–23

A program for those who minister to the Catholic Church’s growing population of Hispanic Catholics convenes at Santa Clara University July 10–23.

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 5, 2016—Eighty leaders who minister to the Catholic Church’s growing population of Hispanic Catholics will convene at Santa Clara University July 10–23 for an advanced theology and pastoral-ministries education program, the Instituto Hispano, or Hispanic Institute.

The Instituto, now in its 28th year as a program of the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, is an intensive Spanish-language program for Catholic parish leaders, mostly non-clergy. Attendees are ministers to Spanish-speaking members of their parishes, and include catechism teachers, adult-formation leaders, deacons, pre-marriage or pre-baptism counselors, and sometimes women religious and priests. Most who attend are Latinos and are seeking a deeper understanding of their faith and culture with their lived Catholicism. 

The Instituto aims to provide a deeper theological education for the Hispanic community, focused on the unique experience of Catholic Hispanic Americans today. This includes concepts such as inculturation, or the mutual exchange between two cultures contributing to the emergence of a new culture; planning for an authentic liturgy that speaks powerfully to the community; and understanding the Gospels through their Hispanic reality.

Participants in the Instituto must already be active in ministry and receive the recommendation of their parish priest. Participants who attend for three summers receive a Certificate in Hispanic Theological and Pastoral Studies.

“In California, two-thirds of Catholics are Hispanic, and the population of Hispanic Catholics is growing nationwide," said Teresa Montes-Lara, O.P., the director of the Instituto. “The Instituto is a treasured resource for those who are serving as ministers to communities rich in cultural traditions, who often have not had access to advanced theological education,” she added.

Alicia Marill, DMin., of Barry University in Miami, Florida, will receive this year’s Allan Deck, S.J., award. Named after the founder of the Instituto, in 1988, the award honors a distinguished collaborator in Hispanic Latino formation in the United States. 

This year’s attendees, 69 percent women and 31 percent men, come from 10 different states, including California, Washington, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and  New York.

Among the faculty are Rossano Zas Friz, S.J., professor of spirituality at the Gregorian in Rome; Gerardo Cortés Padilla, S.J., a scripture expert from Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico;  Georgina Zubiria Maqueo, RSCJ, a major collaborator in the Latin American Conference of Women and Men Religious and a  Mexican theologian; and Ricardo Jose Marquez Muskus, systematic theologian from Loyola University in New Orleans. Click here for a full list of faculty.

Interested media may attend Instituto events by first contacting SCU Media Relations.

About Santa Clara University
Santa Clara University, a comprehensive Jesuit, Catholic university located 40 miles south of San Francisco in California’s Silicon Valley, offers its more than 9,000 students rigorous undergraduate curricula in arts and sciences, business, and engineering; master’s degrees in business, education, counseling psychology, pastoral ministry, and theology; and law degrees and engineering Ph.D.s. Distinguished nationally by one of the highest graduation rates among all U.S. master’s universities, California’s oldest operating higher-education institution demonstrates faith-inspired values of ethics and social justice. For more information, see

About the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University
The Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley, California, is a preeminent international center for the culturally contextualized study of theology. Its mission is to inspire and prepare men and women to become leaders in the Church, academy, and society, serving others through a faith that does justice. Rooted in Ignatian spirituality, JST educates and trains Jesuits, religious, ordained, and lay students from across the United States and from 40 other countries for lives dedicated to ministry and scholarship.

Media Contacts
Deborah Lohse | Media Relations, SCU | 408-768-6898 |
Steve Padilla | Marketing and Alumni Relations, JST | 707.330.6559 |

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Teresa Montes-Lara, O.P., director of the annual Instituto Hispano, lights a candle during the 2015 Instituto, which provides advanced theological education for lay leaders of Hispanic congregations.