At the University of St. Thomas (MN), part of their approach in offering cultural programming and community among Hispanic and Latino/a students is faith-related. Campus Ministry has taken up the charge from the United States Conference of Bishops and V Encuentro “to create spaces for the growing population of Hispanic young adults in colleges and universities.” Programming is designed, according to their website, “with the aim of building community and celebrating and enriching their faith and traditions.”
Some of the Hispanic and Latino/a student programming offered by Campus Ministry focuses on specific celebrations, such as…
Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration. At St. Thomas, they offer a bilingual mass to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, which is a central celebration for Latino communities. A Serenata (music played in the evening in the open air) and Fiesta are also held “where students share their love for Our Lady and the significance of this festivity for the immigrant communities.”
Las Posadas. “This traditional Christmas celebration in Latin America commemorates the journey that Joseph and Mary made from Nazareth to Bethlehem seeking a safe place for Mary to give birth to baby Jesus,” according to Campus Ministry. By focusing on Las Posadas’ theme of knocking on doors only to be rejected, participants can also reflect on the realities faced by modern-day immigrant communities.
Regularly Scheduled Programming
Other offerings happen regularly throughout the year, such as…
CaFE Y Amigos. Fe is Spanish for “faith” so this monthly gathering is about Celebrando la Fe Juntos (Celebrating Faith Together). Latino/a and Hispanic students gather to share food and fellowship during this event co-sponsored by Campus Ministry and Catholic Studies Latino Scholars at the university.
Hispanic Student Retreats. These retreats serve to nurture St. Thomas students’ experience of faith and community. The initiative “was born to meet the need for students to connect and share their faith in their own language, to create space for community – a central aspect of Hispanic culture – and to connect with other students of faith.”
Misa y Mesa. This monthly Spanish Mass followed by fellowship is open to all.
“Campus Ministry’s Hispanic programming offers me an opportunity to grow in my faith in community, to have a place to represent my roots by giving me a home far away from home.”
– Student Emilia Zúniga’ 26
Source: Hispanic Student Programming, University of St. Thomas
Explore many other strategies and profiles like this one in our BRAND NEW resource, a guide to Support Hispanic & Latino/a Students: Asset-Based, Culturally-Conscious Approaches to Engage, Support & Retain.