News Detail
Jesuit Father Allan Deck (Luis Gris/Catholic Herald Sacramento photo)
“The demographic trends were already very much in the direction of the Hispanic community becoming very prominent in the Catholic Church. We knew there was a lack of leadership, there was often a lack of services, and we were concerned about serving those that were being left out.” — Jesuit Father Allan Deck
Jesuits Recall Roots of Hispanic Ministry in Southern California
September 16, 2013 — Thirty-five years ago, the Jesuits saw a need they wanted to address: to serve the Latino Catholic community in Southern California. While Hispanic ministry seems commonplace today, in the 1970s it was something of a new idea in the United States. 

The Jesuit team — a handful of young men — was given living quarters at the convent of a church in Buena Park, Calif., and they got to work.

“We began Masses in Spanish in eight different parishes,” recalled Jesuit Father Allan Deck, who was a deacon at the time he moved to Orange County, Calif., as part of the Jesuit team. “Now, more than half of [Orange County parishes] have [Mass in Spanish].”

The Jesuits also established the Centro Pastoral Guadalupe, a nonprofit religious educational institute promoting Hispanic ministry in Orange County, which would later become the Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Orange.

Fr. Deck and Jesuit Father Anastacio Rivera, who are both celebrating 50 years in the Society of Jesus this month, were among those who helped to open the Office of Hispanic Ministry.

Fr. Rivera recalled that prior to the Jesuits’ move to Orange County, few Spanish-language Masses were celebrated there — and then, often, only when a priest could come down from Los Angeles for a weekend.

“The demographic trends were already very much in the direction of the Hispanic community becoming very prominent in the Catholic Church. We knew there was a lack of leadership, there was often a lack of services, and we were concerned about serving those that were being left out,” said Fr. Deck.

“There’s no question but that my experience in Orange was the most influential pastoral experience that I had, that shaped my teaching and my writing,” said Fr. Deck. “I met people who formed me as a priest and made many good friends.”

These energetic priests were soon called to other areas of ministry. Fr. Deck founded the Loyola Institute for Spirituality, based in Orange, Calif., and Fr. Rivera was called back to Los Angeles to head Hispanic ministry for the archdiocese. Fr. Deck later served as founding executive director of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat of Cultural Diversity and is currently the Charles S. Casassa Chair of Catholic Social Values at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

“It does just really seem incredible that 50 years have gone on since we entered,” said Fr. Rivera, who currently serves at Blessed Sacrament Parish in Hollywood. “It just seems like there’s a continuing, never-ending process of deepening who is Christ for me, and where is Christ calling me.” [Orange County Catholic]


Recent News

August 20, 2014 — Jesuit Father Pau Vidal of Jesuit Refugee Service offers a glimpse into life at a Kenyan refugee camp.

August 18, 2014 — Today is the feast day of Saint Alberto Hurtado, a Chilean Jesuit priest known for his engagement with Chilean culture and his work with young adults and the poor.

August 15, 2014 — Jesuit Father Ron Mercier became provincial of the Jesuits' new U.S. Central and Southern Province on July 31.

August 13, 2014 — In remembrance of the 1989 murders of six Jesuits and two lay women in El Salvador, 46 delegates from U.S. Jesuit institutions embarked on a pilgrimage to El Salvador.

August 11, 2014 — Jesuit-run America magazine is undergoing the most dramatic expansion of its domestic and international coverage in 30 years with several recent appointments.

August 7, 2014 — Today, Jesuits worldwide commemorate the 200th anniversary of the restoration of the Society of Jesus, after it was suppressed by papal brief for 41 years.

August 7, 2014 — Meet Jesuit Brother Ken Homan, the star of an interactive video on the U.S. Jesuits’ vocations website, where he talks to users about being a Jesuit brother.

view all news

Search news

Publications
Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America - 7/7/14

America - 6/23/14

America - 6/9/14



Jesuit Center
The Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Penn., is a place of natural beauty, welcoming quiet and spiritual sustenance for those who seek peace within.