IN FALL 2022, CTU was invited to participate in Haciendo Caminos, a partnership of Catholic higher education institutions committed to form and support Latina and Latino students discerning a vocation to serve in ministry and join graduate programs of ministerial and theological formation.
Haciendo Caminos was made possible by a significant grant from The Lilly Endowment Inc. made to the University of Notre Dame to support a collaboration with Boston College. CTU is one of the institutions working with BC and Notre Dame on the initiative.
One of the key goals of the three year grant is to enhance support networks engaging local dioceses, parishes, and/or organizations to accompany young Latino Catholics in this discernment process, particularly the U.S. born.
At CTU, in the first year of the grant, we will focus on building and enhancing our network partners of Hispanic-serving and led parishes, universities, and other organizations across the Archdiocese of Chicago, and the Dioceses of Joliet and Gary. Some of these partners include DePaul University, Dominican University, the City Colleges of Chicago and the Latino/a young adult ministry of various groups in the Diocese, as well as a variety of predominantly Latino/a parishes. Our priority in this stage will be developing these partnerships and listening to the needs of the young Catholic Latino/a communities in the Chicagoland area in order to inform our own mission at CTU. We will use this information to develop our marketing strategies and promotion of our programs to better serve and engage the Latino/a community. We will then invite these partners to take part in a public networking and recruitment event celebrating the 40th anniversary of our Hispanic Theology and Ministry Program in late Spring 2023.
After the groundwork and research is carried out in the first year of the grant, CTU will launch a formation offering consisting of a workshop series exploring “vocational discernment” for young Latino/as. This curriculum will be reinforced by a mentorship program, matching graduate students with college students to be launched in 2024. The workshop and mentoring program offerings will continue into the second stage of the Haciendo Caminos grant.