Rev. Eddie De León, CMF
Assistant Professor of Pastoral Ministry and Preaching
Chair, Department of Spirituality and Pastoral Ministry
REV. EDDIE DE LEÓN is a member of the Claretian Missionaries and was ordained to the priesthood in 1991. His first assignment, after CTU studies, was as Director and Chaplain of Campus Ministry in Southern Missouri, where he served for 13 years. Afterwards, he was elected Provincial for his province gaining for him both a national and international perspective regarding church administration and ecclesial ministry. Soon after completion of his term of office, he was invited to serve as chaplain at Yale University, where he created an intercultural student outreach program. Prior to coming to CTU, Fr. Eddie, was serving at the United Nations as an NGO Representative in NYC for the Claretian Missionaries, while residing and ministering at a Latino/a parish.
On this 40th Anniversary of the Hispanic Theology and Ministry Program (HTMP), we are invited and encouraged to look to the future accompanied with a heart full of gratitude for our past achievements. This celebration, while it highlights the achievements obtained through hard work it does not minimalize the need for the ongoing Lucha. La Lucha is still necessary and vital in order that the Latinx community can assume more visible and equitable roles in both church and society. Programs like HTMP are needed in the preparation and formation of both Latinx ministers as well as allies for el pueblo. We recognize that still today there are grave injustices being committed, social iniquities that exist and an imbalance of power that maintains the status quo regardless of its impact on people of color, especially the Latinx community. The fallacy is that there are not enough capable women and men for leadership in church and societal public roles. Yet, we find in our Latinx communities that it comprises of intellectuals, businessmen and women, journalists, poets, muralists, musicians, teachers, professors, social workers, scientist, priests, lay ministers and on and on. La Lucha continues because whether we are U.S. citizens or immigrants, we remain to a certain extent invisible. This invisibility is a common experience with most people of color. While we are capable and qualified, for many roles, we remain not yet fully visible nor equal partners at the table. Therefore, it is programs like HTMP that bridges the academic and the practitioner in addressing and in finding approaches that are of mutual benefit. As a Latinx theologian, I realize that we still have much work to do in the building up of the reign of God. Therefore, theological and pastoral programs such as this one, must continue to sound the clarion call, which reminds us all… que si se puede!
Currently, he is a member and previous board member of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). Fr. Eddie is also a regular participant with the Festival of Homiletics, where practitioners and professors of homiletics gather annually for intellectual discourse and application regarding preaching, worship and culture.