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Hispanic Ministry Certificate Program

Purpose and Goals

To provide seminarians with specific formation for priestly ministry in the growing Hispanic community in the United States in a program which integrates language and cultural studies, pastoral field education, and liturgical experiences.

Content / Requirements

Language: Spanish language proficiency at the level of PATH 980 Advanced Pastoral Spanish II, SPAN 202 Second-Year Spanish II, or its equivalent.

Study of Ministry: PATH 907 Hispanic Ministry 2-credit elective

Culture/History: at least one elective course in either advanced Spanish or the history and culture of Latin America

Field Education Placement: at least one year-long Pastoral Field Education (PFED) placement in a setting of Hispanic ministry

Liturgical Practica: Liturgical training for the celebration of the Sacraments in Spanish

Meeting Requirements

Language Proficiency is determined by the seminary instructor in Pastoral Spanish. Some students will have this proficiency already, or will need some further study to meet this expectation.

  • To gain proficiency, seminarians may take courses from the four-semester sequence of Pastoral Spanish (PATH 950-980) taught to seminarians in small classes. Placement tests determine level. In addition, the foreign language department in the University also offers undergraduate courses in Spanish language.

  • Some dioceses send seminarians to immersion programs in the summer. The Mount has positive experience with a school called Probigua. It is a language school based in Antigua Guatemala which enrolls a good number of US seminary students and priests each summer. Probigua offers one-on-one tutorial classes (four to six hours daily) in two settings. One is in the picturesque and historic city of Antigua and includes living with a host family. A second option is conducted with room and board in a Benedictine-run seminary.  Details available on request.

Study of Ministry:

Students qualify by taking the elective in Hispanic Ministry (PATH 907). When thee is sufficient enrollment (minimum 4 students) the seminary organizes this two-credit elective(described in the Seminary catalog). With fewer students, this course is conducted as an independent study which incorporates directed readings in the Hispanic Ministry documents, a placement in a setting with Hispanic ministry opportunities, and a directed research project focused on pastoral themes.


Courses in the history and culture of Latin America are offered frequently in both the Seminary and in the University. Some of these in our Church History department.

Field Education Placement:

The director of pastoral field education has a number of placements available in which men can experience different aspects of Hispanic Ministry. Pastoral training and supervision is offered with the Centro Catolico Hispano in Washington, D.C., and multicultural parish placements in Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Of course assignments which require sacramental administration or preaching in Spanish demand language capacity. There are other opportunities (Campus Evangelization trips, ministry with the local poor, Mount 2000 Eucharistic retreat) which provide opportunities for some Spanish language engagement. For those in the Hispanic ministry certificate program, summer assignments and other diocesan involvement is encouraged and may be used if an independent study in Hispanic Ministry is required (see above).

Liturgical Practica:

A one-credit per semester course is available (to all with a minimum one-year of college-level Spanish) entitled "Celebrando los Sacramentos" (PATH 921/922). This course has several basic objectives: to review the liturgical texts for the administration of the sacraments in Spanish, to review advanced grammar points to "keep the Spanish alive, " to practice oral comprehension with videos, films, and audio recordings, and to practice the proper parts of the Mass and the readings for the community Mass celebrated in Spanish every Thursday.

For all interested, Mass with Morning Prayer is celebrated every Tuesday in Spanish with opportunities for preaching and lectoring. Mass is also celebrated every Thursday in Spanish for the entire community. This means that a seminarian enrolled in Pastoral Spanish has five days in a row with some dimension of Spanish, and may even sit at the Friday "Spanish Table" at lunch to further practice his language skills.


The Hispanic Ministry Certificate program is only available to those seminarian students enrolled in Mount St. Mary's Seminary M.Div./Ordination Formation program. The certificate is awarded upon completion of the M.Div. degree/Ordination Formation program and all requirements for the Hispanic Ministry certificate (as outlined above).

Dual Degree and Hispanic Ministry?

The Mount's six year Pre-Theology and Theology program has at least 10 elective slots. Seminarians with some Spanish proficiency may attempt a dual-degree (MDiv+MA or MDiv+STB) plus the Hispanic Ministry Certificate; however those with no prior Spanish proficiency may find it difficult (if not impossible) depending on which degree track is attempted and their entering class year (pre-theology or theology).

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