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 | By Krysthell Castillo

Building the Kingdom of God

The Diocese of Birmingham is blessed to have the Office of Hispanic Ministry offer Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (PJH), which tends to the needs of Hispanic young adults, ages 18-35. Through the generous aid that Catholic Charities and Communities provides, events are made possible that allow Hispanic young adults to grow closer to Christ, to receive faith and leadership formation, and to be accountable for their role in the Church.

Annually, PJH offers a summer camp, and this year, the theme was “Jesus under the stars.” Close to 60 Hispanic young adults participated and lived an experience that helped build community with other young adults. They were able to have an encounter with Jesus in adoration in the great outdoors on the grounds of Camp Tekakwitha. God’s love penetrated their hearts, reinforcing their identity as God’s children. Participants were able to discover themselves in the heart of Jesus, reconciling themselves with the greatness of being sons and daughters of God. It is in finding this identity that young adults will know that they are loved!

A reality for many Hispanic young adults is the transition through the many phases of inculturation, which can be difficult to maneuver without accompaniment.

Thanks to Catholic Charities and Communities, events have been organized to keep young adults engaged with one another, active in their parishes, and encouraged to share their faith, experiences, and struggles.

One such event is the annual leadership formation retreat. Each year in August, young adults from parishes throughout our diocese participate, becoming empowered to step up and support their parish youth groups.

Essentially, our goal is to create a culture which cultivates our youth. Just like the saints of the Church are the “pillars of the Church,” if our youth become the pillars of their communities, they will be guided to continue on their path to sainthood, not by knowing that sin equals failure but by realizing that a saint is a sinner who keeps trying. One of the greatest parts of this journey is the relationship that is developed with Christ out of love for Him, and one of the most important ways to truly find the Lord is in one another.

The Office of Hispanic Ministry expresses its immense gratitude to ALL who contribute annually to Catholic Charities and Communities! It is through generous hearts that souls can be fueled by God’s love, together building the Kingdom of God.

Krysthell Castillo is the coordinator of Hispanic Youth and Pastoral Juvenil for the Diocese of Birmingham.