Rev. Virgilio P. Elizondo, visiting professor for the Institute for Latino Studies and theology at the University of Notre Dame, and known asthe father of U.S. Latino religious thought,will speak on the importance of immigrants to the Catholic Church at6 p.m.Thursday (April 14) at St. Mary ofCzestochowa,3010 S. 48 th Ct., inCicero,Ill.
Father Elizondos talk, delivered in Spanish, will be directed to the grassroots Mexican lay leaders who make up more than 50 percent of Catholics living inBerwynandCicero.
The Catholic community ofBerwynandCicerohas reached a critical moment, and we look forward to a time when Latino Catholics take more of a leadership role in the Church in these two suburbs,said Father Mark Bartosic, pastor in the Berwyn Cicero Cooperative.Father Elizondos address, with its theme of evangelization and welcome, signals a new beginning for our Catholic community. **
Father Elizondo, who received Notre Dame’s highest honor, the Laetare Medal, in 1997, and a Hispanic Heritage award in 2002, has been on the Universitys faculty since 2000.
A native ofSan Antonio,Texas, where his Mexican immigrant parents owned a grocery store, he has spent most of his life there and served for many years as pastor of San Fernando Cathedral. The Sunday Spanish Mass at which he presided became famous throughoutLatin Americawhen it was televised and carried via satellite from the cathedral to more than 1 million households.
Father Elizondo became prominent as an advocate for underpaid and exploited Mexican-American laborers in his archdiocese during the early 1970s, and as an increasingly self-conscious Mexican-American community began to assert itself politically and culturally, he established theMexican-AmericanCulturalCenterat Assumption Seminary.
The well-traveled Father Elizondo speaks seven languages and has written 12 books, including “The Future is Mestizo,” “Galilean Journey,” and “The Human Quest.”
* Contact: * Sylvia Puente, Institute for Latino Studies, MetropolitanChicagoInitiative, 708-788-6109