La Red presents a daring pastoral project for young people for a decade

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Enrique Soros

The Revolution of Young People: the project of the decade

Its official name is “LaRED, National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana”. Its name reveals its identity. It is a wide national network of Catholic Hispanic young people and youth and young adult ministers in the United States. Its original name is in two languages, the same languages spoken by its members: English and Spanish.

Mobilizing, awakening, and making visible the crucial importance of youth and young adult ministry

In accordance with the National Dialogue, which is the fruit of a national synodal work among 10,000 young people carried out by youth and young adult ministry organizations along with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), LaRED has proposed to literally revolutionize the  young people of the country. This project is of such importance that it is not just a pastoral proposal for two or three years, but a “Proyecto de Pastoral Juvenil de la Década: 2020 – 2030” (a decade).

It is well known that for every young millennial that enters the Church in the United States, six millennials leave. LaRED has decided to take this matter seriously, generating a process that involves the entire Church in the country. Undoubtedly, it will be a very slow process with varying degrees of acceptance, given that each diocese sets its own priorities, and youth and young adult ministry may not be an issue of essential preponderance for all bishops. This project “of the decade” is about mobilizing, awakening, and making visible the crucial importance of youth and young adult ministry. One that is attentive to their (young people) reality.

Annual Membership Meeting of La Red

The way of being Church is called synodality

At the Annual Membership Meeting 2021 of LaRED, which took place from 21st to 23rd September, leaders of Hispanic Youth and Young Adults Ministry discussed the leadership of young people and the key points that youth and young adult ministers must keep in mind. In a country where ideas that are far removed from life are often disproportionately discussed – and which do not help us to meet a tangible Christ who accompanies, embraces and is close to the community – it was insistently emphasized the need to approach the vital reality of young people: to listen to them, understand them, and motivate them to walk their unique path in faith, accompanied by brothers and sisters along the way.

A key theme of the meeting was synodality. In this regard, Paul Jarzembowski, Assistant Director for Youth and Young Adult Ministries at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), pointed out that “synodality is the way of being Church, it is not simply a characteristic, but its very essence, since the Church is never static, it is always in movement, it is always with us, in our midst”. And he concluded by saying that “synodality is complicated, but it is the way to grow, respecting the proper movement of those who leave room for life to develop in fullness”.

Annual Membership Meeting of La Red

Living synodality in a real way

Adriana Visoso, president of LaRED, expressed her enthusiastic support for Jarzembowski’s remarks, as well as those of other speakers – Nick Stein, Darius Villalobos, Diana Hacharenko and Mike St. Pierre – who, in a similar way, emphasised the existential importance of synodality for the Church and for youth and young adult ministry.

At the same time, Visoso stressed the importance of the concrete work that is carried out jointly in Pastoral de Conjunto, with various groups, such as: Bon Secours; NATYAM, the National Advisory Team on Young Adult Ministry of the USCCB; CCMA, the Catholic Campus Ministry Association; NFCYM, the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry; and various projects and programs, such as VEYAHLI, the V Encuentro Youth and Young Adult Leadership Initiative; the National Dialogue; the V Encuentro Nacional de Pastoral Hispana; and Journeying Together, organized by the USCCB’s Office of Cultural Diversity in the Church, among others.

The president of LaRED emphasised the importance that these projects do not remain in theories and documents but interact in synodality among the various agents, “who have different purposes, but through unity, aim at the same goal, and this is achieved through communion, listening to each other, learning together, healing wounds, integrating, and going together to the peripheries”.

Elections of LaRED

At the Annual Membership Meeting, LaRED elected 12 new representatives. These are: José Julián Matos Auffant, as vice president; Annie Bailey, as treasurer; Yazmin Mani Malone, as secretary; and the following nine members, as members-at-large: Sr. Luisa Díaz Vásquez, Maritza Mandujano, Michal Horace, Fr. Gerson Espinosa, Krysthell Castillo, Antonio Guzmán, Gabriela Guido, María Romero, and Ricardo Grzona. Adriana Visoso continues to serve LaRED as its president.

Other members of the Board of Directors are Roberto Navarro, as advisor; Fr. Rafael Capó, as advisor; Paul Jarzembowski, ex-officio; Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, ex-officio; and Archbishop José Gómez, as advisor and Episcopal liaison.

Raíces y Alas (Roots and Wings), April 2022

Meanwhile, Elisabeth Román, president of the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry (NCCHM), which brings together the most important institutions of Hispanic ministry in the United States, presented a promotional video for the Raíces y Alas congress, which she oversees and will be held April 26-30, 2022 in Washington D.C.  In the video, Nuncio Christophe Pierre, among others, invite pastoral leaders in Hispanic ministry to participate in this meeting of national importance. Youth Ministry is one of its four priorities, under the leadership of Adriana Visoso.

Information about the “Proyecto de Pastoral Juvenil de la Década: 2020 – 2030” will be uploaded soon on the website of LaRED:

Originally published: Exaudi

Translation: Verónica López Salgado