From our Vicar

Msgr. Hugh J. Shields

In this past month or two I have attended both national and local meetings where the challenges, achievements, failures, hopes and statistics of our Hispanic community have been discussed in the wider context of the American Catholic Church, the U.S.A. at large, and even in terms of the impact these issues have on the world.

The comprehensive extent and depth of so many of these presentations and the ensuing discussions tend to underscore the “poverty,” “powerlessness to change for the better” and general temptation to believe that one’s presence, ideas, wisdom, vision, etc., count for nothing in this vast sea of information.

And then along comes the Feast of Nuestro Señor Jesucristo, Rey del Universo to remind us of a few very important facts.

First of all, this “American Catholic Church,” this “U.S.A. at large,” this world is all the creation of God the Father. Secondly, Christ has been sent into this world of ours to remind each one of us just how important we are to the Father’s plan. And, thirdly, the Holy Spirit dwells within each one of us and will help us make some sense of the unsetting economic situation, the war being fought on so many fronts by our loved ones, the senseless violence and racial prejudice that can make its way right into our homes and hearts and the counterproductive separation of families due to laws that have not caught up with poverty-driven immigration patterns.

We are reminded as we celebrate Jesus Christ as our King of the Universe, we are also celebrating our oneness with each other. While our Hispanic community needs to be vigilant in protecting the rights of Hispanics and all others, the Hispanic community has also been blessed with a tremendous infusion of the Holy Spirit that must be shared if we are truly to be considered “Catholic.”

When it comes to “poverty” in the consideration of giftedness within the Hispanic community − there is no poverty! There is a challenging need to admit the abundant blessings given by Christ, Our King, to our Hispanic community, and in this time of “Thanksgiving” to stand up sahre those gifts with the American Catholic Church, the U.S.A. and the world!

I don’t need to spell out “how” for you … Jesus Christ, Our King, is already telling you “how.”

Msgr. Hugh Shields is the Vicar for Hispanic Catholics of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.