Ethnic Ministries serves diverse Archdiocesan family of faith

April 25, 2017

HOUSTON — Hundreds of thousands of Catholics currently living in the greater Houston area come from many culturally diverse ethnic and language groups from around the globe. This includes most Asian countries, many African countries and countries of Europe and the Americas.

The ministry responsible for providing sacramental and pastoral care to support the multitude of cultural and linguistic groups in the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston is the Ethnic Ministries.

“The Archdiocese believes the presence of these Catholics as a part of its family of faith enables the Archdiocese to truly experience the beauty and universality of the Catholic Church and the many languages and cultural traditions it represents worldwide,” said Deacon Leonard Lockett, vicar for Catholics of African Descent. “Specific ethnic parishes and ethnic ministries have been created to assist in the sacramental and pastoral care of the people of particular ethnic groups. We also are able to educate the greater community about the linguistic and cultural gifts each of these ethnic groups offer.”

Currently, the Ethnic Ministries is comprised of the Hispanic Ministry, Vietnamese Ministry, Ministry to Catholics of African Descent, Filipino Ministry, Korean Ministry, Chinese Ministry, Polish Ministry and Indian Ministry.

“The Ethnic Ministries is beautiful because it addresses the needs of the great variety found in our Catholic population in the Archdiocese,” said Fr. Italo Dell’Oro, Director of Clergy Formation & Chaplaincy Services. “The largest group served by far is the Hispanic community, followed by the Vietnamese and Filipino groups. We are also blessed by a large presence of Catholics from India, Nigeria and Cameroon. For all the ethnic groups represented, it is a ministry that truly supports our diversity, which truly represents the universal Catholic Church.” 

The Ethnic Ministries is one of 60 ministries supported by the Diocesan Services Fund.

“Without the support of the DSF, many of the programs and ministries to enrich and nourish the growth of these diverse ethnic groups, including the Black Apostolate in our Archdiocese in which I serve, would not be possible,” said Deacon Lockett.

The Ministry to Catholics of African Descent provides spiritual, cultural, educational and social development for African, African American, and Caribbean Catholic communities of the Archdiocese. Deacon Lockett said the DSF enables his ministry to also serve in the important role of identifying current needs, concerns, and issues of these Catholic communities and reporting back to established Archdiocesan offices and agencies that can ensure they are addressed.

“Our Black Apostolate in the Archdiocese is continuing to grow within its own diverse communities from native born African-Americans, to those who have settled here from the continent of Africa and from the Caribbean Basin,” he said. “On any given Sunday within our Black Apostolate, the Eucharist is being celebrated in English, Igbo, French and Swahili. My present mission is working closely with clergy, religious and the laity to unify our efforts and further our collaboration on various programs and ministries, especially with special attention to our youth, young adults and vocations.”