Latinx communities in the United States have birthed important theological reflection methods in the last forty years. The Encuentros and the colloquia of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACTHUS) are methods of reflecting latinamente that honor community, dialogue and lived experience creating new avenues for theological and pastoral action. This has also been modeled effectively at the First and Second National Symposia on Catholic Hispanic Ministry held in 2010 and 2014 at Boston College and Loyola Marymount University, respectively.

Dominican University’s first conference, ¡El Futuro Is Here! Doing Campus Ministry and Undergraduate Theological Education Latinamente, was structured in a similar way. Dominican University hosted 147 participants from 41 participating institutions that included Catholic universities, Newman centers, a Protestant campus ministry, national and community partners, and graduate schools of theology and ministry between July 31–August 2, 2018 for a three-day dialogue. Universities were invited to send thoughtfully constructed campus teams poised to make change at their institutions. The following is the approximate profile of that comunidad:

  • Student Leaders: 40%
  • Ministry Directors and Professional Staff: 35.5%
  • Administrators and Mission Officers: 15.5%
  • Faculty: 9%

¡El Futuro Is Here! invited shared exploration in three movements. The first day was an invitation to name the current moment in Catholic higher education, to honor the places where we come from before imagining where we might go. This revolved around a powerful keynote offered by Dr. Carmen Nanko-Fernández, Professor of Hispanic Theology and Ministry at Catholic Theological Union. The second morning was anchored by Dr. Hosffman Ospino’s thoughtful rendering of the promises and challenges in shifting practices to foster inclusion and partnership of Latin@ students. His address was followed by a panel of Latin@ faculty and campus ministers. The second day of the conference explored the daily lived experience of one Latin@ community in Chicago. Food, art, family presentations, and mural tours helped participants develop a sense of the faith that is lived out in the Pilsen neighborhood, a centerpiece of the city’s Mexican-American community. The day concluded with Mass at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School and a reflection over dinner. The final day of the conference was an invitation to share promising practices taking place at institutions around the country and to plan for a new future.