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Changing Dynamics of Religious Life

April 23, 2014

With numbers of vocations down dramatically, religious communities are having to re-examine their methods. Hector 1

That’s what prompted members of the Viatorian Community to work with the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Mission Education for the New Evangelization, to organize a unique workshop: Vocational discernment with Latino Catholics.

According to the National Religious Vocation Conference, the face of religious life is changing, with Hispanics making up the largest group, or 21 percent of those entering religious life at present.

With that in mind, Bart Hisgen, assistant vocations director for the Viatorians and chair of the LatinoCAVA logo subcommittee of the Chicago Archdiocesan Vocation Association, worked with Viatorian Associate Hector Obregon-Luna and Megan Mio, of the Archdiocese of Chicago to design the one-day workshop. Hector, a native of Peru, is the director of religious education and youth ministry at St. Viator Parish in Chicago.

The vocational discernment workshop took place at St. Joseph Village of Chicago, which is sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of Chicago and drew 21 vocation directors from 11 religious communities.

“I think we need to get out of our comfort zone and do what Jesus did — go to the people,” Hector said. “We need to hold more events, that draw more people, and not just religious events.”

The sharing of ideas and better understanding of the landscape of Hispanic young adults in the Chicago Archdiocese made an impact on vocation directors in attendance.

“People were excited,” Hector said. “They found it powerful and resourceful to hear ideas from a different perspective.”