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Sep 18, 2018 | The Rev. Simón Bautista

Fifty years celebrating Latino/Hispanic Heritage in the USA

The Latino/Hispanic presence in the United States has experienced a tremendous growth since 1968 when under the presidency of Lyndon Johnson, a week was set aside to recognize the contribution of the Latino people to the progress and making of this nation, and to celebrate the heritage underneath each cultural, ethnical, and generational expression of Hispanic in this country. Twenty years later, in 1988, during the presidency of Ronald Reagan this period of recognition was expanded to a full month enacted into law on the seventeen of August.

For fifty years Latinos/Hispanics have been officially recognized in this land of freedom and opportunities for all. But this recognition isn’t just for a standing idling presence, it is for an active presence that build into progress and is helping to shape the future of this nation. Whether it is in Congress or picking up tomatoes and oranges, teaching new generations in schools and colleges or cleaning windows of buildings, traveling to the space as astronauts or serving meal at restaurants, serving in the army and died for this Country or picking trashes from our streets and neighborhoods, serving as doctors and nurses at hospitals improving peoples’ live or cleaning hotel rooms, crafting and painting beautiful pieces of art or entertaining millions as artists and sport players, spiritually nurturing thousands of people or serving as translators in courts, the Latino/Hispanic presence is far away from stand idling it is a power source in constructive and positive changing motion.

So, this September and until mid-October Latino/Hispanic off all over the nation are celebrating one more time the gifts received from the past and the gifts they offer to the present and future of this nation. They will be doing this in various ways, in parades, arts exhibitions, small events in their cities, making presentations at the White House and local city halls, and of course in churches during services and receptions. In our Diocese of Texas, we have Latino/Hispanic congregations where services are held in Spanish. They include St. John’s, and San Francisco de Asis, Austin; San Pablo, San Pedro, San Romero, San Mateo, Santa Maria Virgen, Christ Church Cathedral and St. Alban’s, Houston. In each of these congregations, there are people who trace their roots to many Spanish-speaking countries.

I’d like to encourage you to consider paying a visit to one of these Latino/Hispanic congregations or to the one closest to your home church during this period of celebration. This has been a hard year for Latinos/Hispanic in this nation, I am pretty sure your visit will be highly appreciated.

The Rev. Simon Bautista is Canon Missioner for Latino Ministries and Outreach, Christ Church Cathedral & Chair of the Commission of Hispanic Ministry