Hispanic Heritage Month:
There is a secret place our Catholic faith is showing up right now, and that is in Hispanic Heritage Month. As Hispanics throughout the United States celebrate this month, it is a time to reflect on the blessings that have come through their Hispanic roots, and most notably that is the language and faith of Spain. Although we think of England as the founders of the United States Spain was present centuries before on what is now the United States and for that reason, the United States as a whole has a reason to celebrate this time, especially American Catholics.
It may seem strange this month celebration runs from September 15th until October 15th but it starts in the middle of the month to mark the anniversary of independence of several Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua and Mexico(16th) Many people are confused by the term Hispanic equating it with Latino, but they are different from each other. Hispanic is anyone who has roots from Spain, but Latinos include Portuguese influences as well (Brazil and Portugal).
This year the theme for Hispanic Heritage Month is “Inclusivity: for a stronger Nation.” Whereas as some might think this theme is political correctness, it is very Catholic in its roots. Inclusivity is the heart of our faith, we just say it in a different way every Sunday when we say we are “One, Holy, Apostolic, and catholic Church. Two times in our creed we say we are inclusive people. First when we say we are one and second when we say we are catholic (meaning universal). Both of these means everyone is included.
We speak of inclusivity time and time again in our prayers whenever we way the Our Father, we are saying everyone. When we say in the Hail Mary “Pray for us sinners”, we are praying for everyone. I’m not sure how inclusivity got such a bad name when that is the core of the Christian faith, but this month is a time to reclaim the best of our faith that was brought to this country first through Spain and today our Church would not be what it is in the United States without our Hispanic brothers and sisters as they now comprise 40% of the Catholic Churches. We may be hearing of dozens of churches closing in the United States, but without our Hispanic brothers and sisters we would be seeing hundreds of churches closing not dozens.
Certainly for some, this topic brings up the questions of explorers vs conquistadors, and some will say we should not celebrate the subjugation of the indigenous, and that is a talk worthy for another time, today though is a time to celebrate the best of who we are ti build one another up and move forward together, and isn’t that what our faith says every Sunday as we build the body of Christ?
With a heart for Mission,