St. Mary's. Greenville, Reaches Out to Hispanics Print
Written by Sherry   
Sunday, 04 March 2007 20:09
Here's a very interesting initiative - from the famous St. Mary's in Greenville, South Carolina - the home of Bob Jones University and Fr. Dwight Longennecker. St. Mary's is known for it's liturgy, preaching and the St. Mary's Center for Evangelical Catholicism.

(I've been to St. Mary's several times to do Called & Gifted workshops and training. In fact, we'll be offering training next weekend at St. Mary's for those who want to facilitate the discernment of others and offering a Called & Gifted worksshop there on April 20/21.)

But back to the topic.

Fr. Christopher Smith - the administrator pro tem during the pastor's sabbatical issued this letter to his parish on February 11.

Many of the original Scotch-Irish settlers in this part of Carolina were Catholics; in a generation, they overwhelmingly became Protestants. Why? Because the Church was not visible to them, because there were no priests and no sacraments available to them. The same thing is happening again, this time to the Hispanics. There are now approximately 37,000 Hispanics in Greenville County. In theory, almost all of them should be Catholics. But at this moment, there are now more practicing Latino Protestants than Catholics.

How has this happened? Many of the non-Catholic churches have become very aggressive in converting Catholics away from the fold. They learn Spanish and congregations invest time and money into what they see as fertile ground for evangelization. They bring highly trained native pastors to do missionary work within the United States among the Latinos. What’s more, so many of those who come from Latin America are so poorly catechized that they are easily taken in by those who shower them with love, gifts and the Gospel. Who can blame them?

I have spent a year and half trying to meet with the Latino Protestant pastors in Greenville, and they refuse to even return my letters and calls. Their tactics have become more antagonistic; they have now bought a radio station, 1580AM, and are broadcasting anti-Catholic programming in an attempt to take away their countrymen from the Church of their forefathers. Are we going to let this happen, again?

Many of our Anglos want to help the Hispanics, but do not know how. Here is a chance: we are in the process of putting together a newspaper which would tell people the truth about the Catholic faith, a weekly or monthly which will go into Spanish shops all over Greenville. Also, we want to buy time on 103.9FM so that we can counter the attacks on our Faith and on our priests. Say you don’t speak Spanish? It doesn’t matter. We need money, we need volunteers, we need paper, we need graphic artists, we need ink, we need people who can help us reach out to the Latino community. We need you!

Deacon Diego Ferro is waiting for your call or email to help make this happen:

Deacon Diego Ferro
Director of Hispanic Ministry
864.271.8422, ext. 126
Send E-mail »

If we are a parish that wants to spread the Gospel, why not start with the largest group of people in Greenville who are Catholics and the largest group in Greenville who are on their way out because we are not doing our part to reach them? You can help save souls, one at a time – all for Jesus!

Padre Cristóbal Smith