“It is frustrating and even embarrassing when you can't hear a confession or console someone someone in a hospital because of an inability to communicate.”
The St. Junipero Serra Institute offers a unique curriculum that has been developed for the specific purpose of equipping those in pastoral leadership with both a secular and a Catholic vocabulary, so often needed today in the daily pastoral, sacramental, and evangelical aspects of the priestly vocation.
Participants in the program live, study, and pray in community but go out on day trips, visit and interact with local people, and have many other opportunities to practice the language.
Nearly 17% of Americans are of Hispanic origin making the U.S. the 5th largest Spanish speaking country. A generation ago the vast majority of Hispanic--Americans were Catholic. Today it is sadly no longer the case. While nearly 40% of American Catholics are Hispanic, 1 in 4 Hispanic-Americans are former Catholics. The need for effective Hispanic ministry is urgent.
The ability for priests to communicate and minister in Spanish is becoming increasingly more important. As one priest commented, “It is frustrating and even embarrassing when you can't hear a confession or console someone someone in a hospital because of an inability to communicate.” The most effective way to learn a new language is immersion. Students will practice Spanish not only during classroom hours, but also during meals, recreation, and apostolic activities. There will be time dedicated to socializing and conversing with the people to reinforce what is learned in class.
The St. Junipero Serra Institute provides a language and cultural immersion within a thoroughly priestly environment that includes daily Mass in the Extraordinary Form, participation in the life and work of the parish, communal singing of the Divine Office, 4 hours of class time per day, with lessons designed to be useful for priestly ministry, private tutoring and lectures in culture and history.
Knowledge of the mechanics of a language is not enough. To be effective, the priest must also understand the culture, devotions, and traditions of the people to whom he is ministering. Spending time in another culture open's one's eyes to the catholicity of the Church.