The Diocese of Grand Rapids is home to 191,000 Catholics, roughly a third of whom are Hispanic according to recent demographic studies. It serves many migrant farmers and their families who live and work in West Michigan during the summer.
"Having a 5-year plan to see how we can best make use of the great blessings of our Hispanic brothers and sisters that they bring to the church and our wider society," said Bishop of the Diocese of Grand Rapids Most Reverend David Walkowiak.
"We want to do that in an intentional and we want to make sure that we invite them and they can feel welcome in all of our communities, our parish communities," he continued.
The Diocese has had strategic plans in the past but Bishop Walkowiak said given the current climate, the timing is just right.
"Obviously it takes on much greater importance, given the climate today. There is a lot of fear and uncertainty in the Hispanic community and what we want to do is always be aware of the values that Jesus gave to us," he said.
"That all of the members of our human family are of great value and of equal dignity because they're made in the likeness of God regardless of status."
The bishop said the church needs to use the blessings of Hispanic brothers and sisters who typically have a strong family and Catholic life by inviting them to know and honor the Lord and spread that knowledge in their community.
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