Hispanic Initiatives

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Villanova University is named for Spanish Augustinian, Thomas García (1486-1555). Thomas, the son of a miller, was born in a village near Villanova de los Infantes, Spain. On fire with his love for Christ and with a passion for the Reign of God, he joined the Augustinian Order in Salamanca and was ordained to the priesthood. Thomas was a gifted intellectual, a dynamic speaker, a passionate reformer and champion of the poor, in whom he saw the face of Christ.

He is responsible for sending the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World. There they helped evangelize what is now modern Mexico and from there, Peru and the Philippines. 

Thomas’ ability to blend heart, mind and spirit, his compassion and Christian conviction are the benchmarks toward which all those associated with Augustinians are called. Today, the Order of Saint Augustine claims approximately 2,600 friars working in 46 countries. Of this number, approximately 500 can be found in Spain, another 820 serve in Latin America. Of its 20 living cardinals, archbishops and bishops, 12 serve the Church in Latin America.

It is to this rich, and long-standing relationship with the Hispanic world that Villanova University seeks to contribute.  

The commitment of the Office for Mission and Ministry to Hispanic Initiatives emerges from four external goals: 

  • provide access to first generation students and under-served populations
  • maintain and increase the number of Catholics among the undergraduate student body
  • acknowledge a dramatic increase in the Hispanic/Latino population of the United States
  • respond to the of the changing nature of the global church

And two internal goals:

  • respond to the personal/spiritual needs of our Hispanic/Latino student population
  • expand service outreach to nearby Hispanic/Latino parish communities

Because we have both personnel and expertise that can be dedicated to these concerns, we have formed a permanent Working Group to gather and review data on Villanova's incoming and graduating Hispanic/Latino students. Based on these data, we plan to expand our own support to Hispanic/Latino students and look for ways to:

  • build an environment that is more supportive of our Hispanic/Latino constituencies
  • create an institution that is more attractive to future Hispanic/Latino students

This web page will serve as a repository for describing not only our own efforts, but catalog the wide variety of programs, activities and opportunities offered at Villanova University.

Additional local and regional resources will be included in a resoruce directory on this page as well.

Among the academic programs and support services offered by Villanova University are:

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A number of Spanish-speaking faculty and staff at Villanova are especially interested in connecting with Hispanic/Latino students for casual conversation and personal support. Look for this symbol across campus or consult our directory of participants here.

For more information, contact Fr. Art Purcaro, OSA, Assistant Vice President for Mission & Ministry, 107 Corr Hall.

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Monthly during the academic year, the Office for Mission and Ministry will sponsor an informal, lunch time series on topics of interest to the Hispanic/Latino student community. Art and culture, politics and religion, history and current events, personal stories of migration and travel are all occasional discussion topics.

The primary goal of this program is to build community among those interested in all things Hispanic and Latino.

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Villanova University Campus Ministry, through its Center for Service and Social Justice, is looking to build mutually beneficial relationships with local Hispanic/Latino communities. To this end, we hope to match Villanova students, faculty and staff with programs and activities in nearby Catholic parishes.

Additional details will be provided on this page and at the Center for Service and Social Justice. For more information, contact Timothy O'Connell, Associate Director of Campus Ministry.

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The Villanova Hispanic Forum plans to convene twice each year. It will serve as a means of activating Villanova’s commitment to the Hispanic/Latino community in Chester, Delaware and Montgomery counties and provide a platform from which to inspire and support Villanova’s Hispanic/Latino constituency. 

Its Fall Meeting will feature an inspirational address by a local Hispanic leader, who will speak to our Hispanic/Latino students in particular. Dinner will follow.

The Spring Meeting will invite leaders of Hispanic businesses, community service agencies and parishes to an annual networking breakfast to encourage beneficial relationships with Villanova faculty and staff.

News about our organizing committee and future plans will appear here shortly.    

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Since 2004, Villanova University and the National Hispanic Institute (NHI) have partnered to prepare high-ability Hispanic/Latino youth for higher education and future community leadership roles.  The culminating event each year is the Great Debate, which attracts more than 140 high-achieving Hispanic/Latino ninth-grade high school students from over five different countries to Villanova’s campus in July to deliberate on topics concerning the Hispanic/Latino community. 

Later that same year, Villanova and NHI established the Leadership Service Center (LSC) at the university.

The LSC provides Villanova with the opportunity to become intimately involved in the future of Hispanic/Latino communities and engage high-ability students through leadership and academic experiences that inspire community engagement and leadership, as well as the pursuit of higher education. Villanova does so by immersing staff, students and alumni into these communities to establish an infrastructure and organize partnerships with community members, organizations, schools and businesses, to begin to identify future community conscious leaders as early as 14 years of age.

Villanova and NHI have also established an active international presence to engage key sections of the Hispanic/Latino communities in not only the United States but Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.

The Leadership Service Center also adds invaluable experiences such as leadership programming, work study, and volunteer and fellowship opportunities. The Center has developed a presence at Villanova that allows it to build a college student volunteer base, as well as hands-on leadership service and work-study programs.

Villanova currently has several NHI alums enrolled as undergraduate or graduate students at the University.

Click here for more information on NHI.

"In NHI’s 33-year history of work in the U.S. and abroad, no institution has committed the resources, support, and consistency of effort as Villanova University. No other college or university to date has developed an initiative similar to the endeavors undertaken at Villanova University via the Villanova NHI Leadership Service Center and its work beyond its gates to develop driven community conscious leaders.”

Ernesto Nieto, President of the National Hispanic Institute. (2013)

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Mass in Spanish

In an effort to include, respect and celebrate the cultural contributions of our Southern neighbors, Catholic Mass in Spanish is offered on the campus every Saturday at 5:30 PM in the Corr Hall Chapel. Food and fellowship follow Mass frequently.

For a list of local Catholic parishes that offer Mass in Spanish, click here.

Bible Study in Spanish

As part of the Jubilee Year of Mercy a Spanish Bible Study will be offered on Thursdays this semester. Session will be held Thursdays at 12:30-1:20 p.m. in Corr Hall Lounge. Dr. Paul Danove and Fr. Art Purcaro will facilitate. Please bring a Spanish language Bible if you have one. Extras will be available. Please bring your lunch if you'd like. it is not necessary to attend every session. Come when you can! 

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Archdiocese of Philadelphia – Hispanic Catholics

Catholic Association of Latino Leaders (CALL)

 

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