By Seth Gonzales
Organizers said they are expecting at least 2,000 participants will be in attendance for the third Hispanic Congress of the Americas for Pro-Life and Evangelization, a three-day event set to take place at the Plano Centre Aug. 16-18. The bi-annual event, which is organized by the Catholic Pro-Life Committee, is open to the public and will feature prominent cardinals, bishops and lay speakers from across the country.
“The Catholic Pro-life Committee has done a tremendous job in creating a dynamic pro-life movement in North Texas and our diocese is very blessed to have such a large Hispanic Catholic community,” said Dallas Bishop Kevin J. Farrell, who is scheduled to preside over the congress’ opening Mass. “It is my great hope that Latino Catholics, who bring so much to the church in Dallas, will attend this third congress in greater numbers than ever to join in the critical work of protecting the unborn.”
Boston Archbishop Cardinal Sean O’Malley and Houston/Galveston Archbishop Cardinal Daniel DiNardo are also scheduled to lead Masses during the event.
“The primary goal for the gathering is for clergy and lay leaders who attend the presentations and activities to return home to their dioceses equipped with resources, information and an international network to aid them in sharing the teachings of the church,” said Aurora Tinajero, director of Spanish ministry at the Catholic Pro-Life Committee. “The congress will provide attendees with a deepened understanding of the sanctity of life and the related threats, challenges and opportunities that affect their families and communities. Additionally, it is a goal of the congress to help dioceses to develop their own local pro-life leadership and to encourage the involvement of more Hispanics in this ministry.”
The first congress took place in 2008 and continues to serve as a platform for the pro-life message. At the time, it was created for and tailored to the Hispanic community, given that the number of abortions among Hispanics in Texas was rising. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, the number of abortions among Hispanics in the state jumped between 2005 and 2008, from 26,558 to 29,320. In 2011, that number was lowered to 26,392.
The 2013 congress will accommodate the English and Spanish-speaking communities.
San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller is slated to deliver the last of three keynote addresses made during the weekend.
Information, registration and a full list of speakers is available at www.congresohispano2013.org, or by calling 972-262-5137, ext. 23.