July 15, 2016

Intercultural Pastoral Institute graduates encouraged ‘to show the Church is alive’

Graduates of the archdiocesan Hispanic Pastoral Leadership Institute are pictured inside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral on June 11. All told, 43 graduates—34 in pastoral leadership, and nine in spiritual direction—received diplomas on that day. (Submitted photo)

Graduates of the archdiocesan Hispanic Pastoral Leadership Institute are pictured inside the Blessed Sacrament Chapel in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral on June 11. All told, 43 graduates—34 in pastoral leadership, and nine in spiritual direction—received diplomas on that day. (Submitted photo)

By Mike Krokos

Franciscan Brother Moises Gutierrez had a simple, heartfelt message for the newest graduates of the Intercultural Pastoral Institute: thank you.

“It is the most important [phrase], ‘thank you,’ ” he said. “I am so grateful [to all of you]. Wherever I go, I mention you, my experience here at the institute, and walking with the people who have been a part of the institute.”

The former director of the archdiocesan Office of Intercultural Ministry, Brother Moises was the keynote speaker at the June 11 ceremony for the fourth graduating class from the archdiocese’s Hispanic Pastoral Leadership Institute, and its first graduating class in spiritual direction. All told, 43 graduates—34 in pastoral leadership, and nine in spiritual direction—received diplomas.

“I mention you for one reason,” Brother Moises continued in his talk delivered in both English and Spanish, “because you made me a better person.

“Thank you. Thank you so much.”

Brother Moises served in the archdiocese for five years and played an integral role in helping create the archdiocese’s Intercultural Pastoral Institute, which offers programs that promote and celebrate the rich diversity within the archdiocese. He left in December after enrolling in Gonzaga University’s doctoral program of philosophy in leadership in Spokane, Wash.

“It really excited me to know that we were going to have a great time together,” he reminisced of the weekly Thursday gatherings with those taking classes at the institute. “I loved it.”

Brother Moises offered several pieces of advice for the graduates.

“Create memories together,” he told them. “We have created memories together, and you should continue creating more memories together.”

Secondly, Brother Moises encouraged them to adjust their vision and “change their lenses” when necessary.

“If I only look at things through my set of lenses, I will only get one perspective,” he explained. “Don’t be afraid to change your lenses to be able to walk with those you are walking with [on their journey of faith].”

He also encouraged the graduates to use their energy to be on fire for the faith.

“We need to be able to show the Church is alive” in its mission of evangelization, he said.

Leticia Pasillas, a member of St. Ambrose Parish in Seymour, said taking classes in the institute will help her better serve her parish as its Hispanic ministry coordinator.

“I have grown professionally, spiritually, and most importantly, I have developed self-confidence,” said Pasillas, who graduated from the pastoral leadership program. “I have learned self-confidence opens the door for exciting things in life and for personal growth.”

The institute, Pasillas added, helped her and her classmates grow in their lives of faith.

“We all have learned how to be better peers, and how to better serve, not only our parish communities, but in our families and in society at large,” she said.

Franciscan Father Larry Janezic, pastor of Sacred Heart of Jesus and St. Patrick parishes, both in Indianapolis, was the principal celebrant and homilist at a bilingual Mass in SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral in Indianapolis on June 11 before the graduation ceremony. He encouraged the graduates to follow the example of St. Barnabas, one of the Church’s early missionaries, whose feast day was celebrated on the day of the graduation.

Deacon Michael Braun, director of the Secretariat of Pastoral Ministries in the archdiocese, commended the graduates and said their work showed they are answering Pope Francis’ call to be missionary disciples.

“With your achievement, you create for yourself an even more meaningful relationship with the Church,” he said. “You create for yourself an opportunity to serve the Church in new and meaningful ways.

“Each of you has responded to your baptismal call. Go forth now, serve your pastors, serve your parish community in those new and meaningful ways,” Deacon Braun added.

Oscar Castellanos, archdiocesan coodinator of Hispanic Ministry, said the archdiocese plans to continue providing the best formation opportunities for its lay leaders.

“We dream big, and work hard to continue developing better programs,” he said, “especially in holistic formation where minds and hearts are conformed into the image of Christ the Lord.”
 

(To learn more about the intercultural institutes sponsored by the archdiocese, visit www.archindy.org/multicultural and click on “Intercultural Institute.”)

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