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Forum Charts Impact of Latinos on U.S. Catholicism

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In two decades, Latino Catholics will constitute at least 40 percent, perhaps a majority, of the Catholic population—and American Catholicism will enter a new era. How will an ascendant Latino presence transform the church and Catholic life?

That question will be explored at a pathbreaking public forum, “Becoming Latino: The Transformation of U.S. Catholicism,” at Fordham University.

Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2009
6 to 8 p.m.
Pope Auditorium, Lincoln Center Campus
113 W. 60th St., New York City
free and open to the public

Until recently, attention to this remarkable development has understandably focused on pleas for recognition and acceptance of the Latino presence—a place at the table, in effect.

The December 9 forum will move beyond those pleas.  Latino Catholics are not only finding a place at the table, they may soon be serving as hosts.

What will that mean for pastoral practices and institutional structures?  What challenges does it present in terms cultural and socio-economic divisions?  What kinds of new leadership will it demand?  What lessons can the church draw from its past experience of immigrant Catholicism?  What entirely new lessons will the church have to learn?

Leading experts, will address these questions and more—from demography to spirituality, from economics and politics to assimilation.  The panelists will be:

Luis Lugo, director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life;
Claudio Burgaleta, S.J., coordinator of Latino studies at Fordham’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education;
Arturo J. Banuelas, pastor, St. Pius X Church, El Paso, Texas;
Maria Odom, executive director of CLINIC, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., Washington, D.C.

The moderator will be Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J., executive director, Office for Cultural Diversity in the Church, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This event is sponsored by the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. To RSVP, e-mail CRCevent@fordham.edu or call 212 636-7347. For more information, go towww.fordham.edu/ReligCulture.

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