Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE) has launched a Spanish-language website that offers courses in theology and scripture for Hispanic pastoral ministry in the United States.
Claudio M. Burgaleta, S.J., assistant professor of theology who spearheaded the initiative, said the site, known as Isidoro, is designed to address the needs of the Hispanic Catholic community, one of the fastest-growing populations in the nation. In addition to the courses, the Isidoro site offers articles, essays and magisterial documents for downloading, as well as links to inspirational websites.
“The influence of Latino culture, language and traditions raise different concerns to be addressed, and there really wasn’t a website with content for the Hispanic pastoral reality in the U.S.,” said Father Burgaleta. “The ministry of the future is going to be more bilingual.”
The site takes its name from St. Isidore, who was archbishop of Seville in the early 7th century and is regarded as one of the leading scholars of the early Middle Ages. Because of St. Isidore’s passion for learning, Father Burgaleta said that he is referred to in the Spanish-speaking world as the “patron saint of the Internet.” Pastoral ministry focuses on sharing the mission of the church with others through religious education or ministering both by ordained and lay ministers. Areas where Hispanic pastoral ministry diverges from regular pastoral ministry, Father Burgaleta said, include processional practices and devotions to certain saints, such as Mary.
Internet sites that cater to such culture-specific interests are rapidly expanding on the Web, and Burgaleta said Isidoro includes a “cybernetic inspiration” link to sites that feature daily spiritual messages in Spanish. The Isidoro site is funded in part by the Office of the Superior General of the Society of Jesus and the Sisters of Charity of St. Elizabeth in Convent Station, N.J. Isodoro is located on the GRE website.