Pilar Latorre’s Pastoral Center Fare-Well Reception

On Thursday, February 26th, 2015 the staff at the Pastoral Center of the Archdiocese of Boston, in the Presence of Cardinal Seàn O’Malley, held a fare-bye party for Maria Pilar Latorre, as she gets ready to retire and move back to her homeland of Madrid, Spain.

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Pilar Latorre and Cardinal Sean O’Malley

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The Directors of Religious Education for the Archdiocese of Boston, including Pilar Latorre, Susan Kay and Susan Abbot whom still serve the Archdiocese today.

Pilar has been a great inspiration to many at the Archdiocese of Boston, dedicating 41 years of service to the Church in Boston. From the moment that she arrived at the Archdiocese of Boston, she already provided a great vision for the “then growing” flow of Spanish-speaking immigrants and refugees that were starting to make up the Church of Boston. With her talents and background in teaching, Pilar dedicated her time in developing a phenomenal catechisis program for Spanish-Speaking Catholics. What started as something small, grew into an outstanding program of formation and evangelization for catechatical leaders, providing quality formation for those teaching the faith in the Spanish language. Pilar’s efforts are now present in our 36 parishes with Hispanic Ministries,  and the Archdiocese of Boston is forever grateful to her.

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Members of the Pastoral Center Listening to Pilar’s Speach

Pilar will truly be missed, since she has been so influential in the life of the Church in Boston as well as in the life of our Spanish-speaking parishioners.

Below are the kind words that Pilar expressed to the members of the Pastoral Center and His Eminence, Cardinal Sèan O’Malley

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Pilar giving her speech and expressing her gratitude towards the Archdiocese

Thank you Cardinal Sean for your generous words.  I want you to know how very grateful I am for your support of the catechetical programs for Spanish speaking Catholics in the Archdiocese of Boston.  You have continuously encouraged me to dedicate my time to the important catechetical work of educating and forming adults in their faith.

You have encouraged and supported not only me and the teachers in our programs, but all members of the Spanish speaking Catholic community by your presence at many of our events, especially our graduations.  You bring joy to the community by being with them.  They know you love them.

Forty one years ago, Cardinal Medeiros, desiring to empower pastoral care and faith education for the quickly growing immigrant Spanish speaking community in the Archdiocese, asked me to organize a Spanish catechetical program.  There were no books, no curriculum, and no programs.  Three or four parishes across the Archdiocese who knew or had Spanish speaking priests on staff welcomed Spanish speaking communities offering them worship and gathering space.  Resources were few.

Cardinal Medeiros wanted the Spanish catechetical program to come under the direction of the Archdiocesan Office of Religious Education.  He told me that I would have solid support, learn about excellent catechesis, and the ORE would help explore and develop resources.  He felt that my presence and the work for justice for the Spanish speaking would bring a rich perspective to the Archdiocesan catechetical program.  We would all learn and grow with one another.  I am happy to say that we have.

Years after, Cardinal Law insisted on catechist certification programs and he ask me to develop more and diverse adult education and formation programs.  The ORE supported Spanish catechist certification as well as a two year certification program for other parish ministries known as IFL.  We have certified hundreds of catechists and have had eight IFL graduations with more than 300 graduates from all over the Diocese

 I would like to thank Janet, our Cabinet Secretary, for her kindness, and each Archdiocesan Director of Religious Education with whom I have worked. They have been generous and wise in planning budgets as well as supporting and encouraging me in developing the work.  Father John Mulvehill, Father James Hawker, Father, now Bishop, Richard Malone, Sister Clare Bertero, and most recently, Susan Abbott all of them devoted their lives to excellent catechesis and the work of justice for all.  The Spanish speaking community and I have benefited from their vision and wisdom.   I also thank Fr. Paco especially for this that we have worked together so closely.  This time was a time of blessings and good experiences.

I would also like to thank my colleague of 15 years, Susan Kay who is here with me today.  We are the last members of what was The Office of Religious Education.

When I retire and return to Spain, hopefully to continue to work for the poor and marginalized, I will remember and speak of the goodness of the Archdiocese of Boston.  I will especially remember you who are members of the pastoral staff.  Your kindness and encouragement have made my days here rich and happy.  I have loved the people, my work, and I love all of you.  Thank you.” – Pilar Latorre

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