Today, September 15, marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States. Since 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month has celebrated the rich histories, cultures, and contributions of Hispanic Americans who trace their roots back to Spain and Spanish-speaking countries in North America, Central America, and the Caribbean.
Throughout our nation’s history, Latinx and Hispanic persons have had a profound and positive influence through their strong commitment to family, faith, and service. They have embodied servant leadership and embraced communal identity in a way that not only reflects the multiethnic and multicultural customs of their community but follows the way of Christ.
As always, I would like to recognize Hispanic Americans not only in our nation, but also in our schools. According to a 2016 Boston College study, more than 97% of school-age Hispanics do not benefit from Catholic school education. While Latinos are by far the fastest-growing ethnic group in the U.S. Catholic Church, many Hispanic families find Catholic education just out of reach. Here at the Archdiocese of New York, we strive to ensure that traditional barriers to entry—including tuition expenses and lack of cultural support and bilingual resources—do not deter our Hispanic families from pursuing an enriching Catholic education. On all levels, our schools work together to affirm and serve our Hispanic families.
Over the next four weeks, we will share with the community through our website and social media platforms some of the creative ways that our schools showcase and celebrate Hispanic heritage, persons, and culture. Through our hashtags #HispanicHeritageArch and #TradiciónHispanaArch, you, too, can share your story with us and potentially be featured on our English- and Spanish-language channels.
While one month will simply never be enough to fully honor our nation’s Hispanic heritage, we hope it is enough to spark a greater sense of understanding and solidarity with the Hispanic experience. Please join me in celebrating this month and throughout the year, ¡dando gracias a Dios! (giving thanks to God!) for our Hispanic students, teachers, pastors, and staff.
Mr. Michael J. Deegan
Superintendent of Schools
Archdiocese of New York