Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


‘Pascua Juvenil’ Planned For Hispanic Young Adults

By PRISCILLA GREEAR, Staff Writer | Published March 31, 2005

The Office of Hispanic Young Adult Ministry will sponsor a bilingual Easter celebration for young adults with the theme of “Human Dignity, God’s Gift” on Saturday, April 16, at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta.

The day of spiritual renewal during the Easter season called “Pascua Juvenil,” or “Easter for Youth,” is a tradition for young people in Latin America. It will begin at 8 a.m., with doors opening at 7 a.m., and will conclude with a 7 p.m. Mass celebrated by Father Jose Duvan, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry. All persons ages 18-35 are invited to attend the event, which will be in Spanish but simultaneously interpreted into English and Portuguese.

Last year the event drew around 500 people, and this year they’re hoping for 1,000. Following morning ice-breakers, the first talk will be presented by Father Francisco Estrada on “the young person and vocation.” Father Peter Jandaczek, MS, will speak on the “fundamentals of human dignity.” Father Guillermo Cordoba will then speak on “Christ as the summit of human dignity.” Next will be a one-hour theatre presentation on St. Francis of Assisi and his affirmation of all life by the young adult group at St. Philip Benizi Church, Jonesboro. And finally, Father Fabio Sotelo Peña, assistant director of vocations for the archdiocese, will speak on “the response of the young person to his vocation.”

Eucharistic adoration will be available throughout the day, and there will be tournaments for squash, soccer, basketball and volleyball from 1-3 p.m. Over 20 priests will be on hand at the event to offer the sacrament of reconciliation and spiritual direction. A vocations fair will be held, and all religious orders in the archdiocese and the Office of Vocations will have tables with information.

Leonardo Jaramillo, director of the Office of Hispanic Young Adult Ministry, or “La Pastoral Juvenil,” said the day is intended to be an affirmation of young adults’ dignity. “The most direct way the young people are going to benefit from the Easter event is from the discovery of their human dignity as young people so that they feel their self-worth, that they are part of a church that loves them and welcomes them, and that all feel involved,” he said. “And for this one of the best benefits will be if there are (also) going to be more Anglo and Brazilian young adults. The fruit of this is that we are united as one group.”

The event will also be a time to receive the sacraments and “profound spiritual direction” to be renewed in faith. “This day is only for this, to have contact with Jesus.” It will also be an opportunity to experience fellowship with Hispanic and Anglo young adults “to build bonds of dignity between the parishes and for the young people to share information on their projects and activities to continue inspiring the young people to continue building young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta.”

Jaramillo noted that this year’s Easter event for young adults will be in preparation for the U.S. Catholic Church’s first conference on Hispanic young adult ministry to be held June 8-11, 2006, at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, initiated by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Hispanic Affairs. Leading up to the national conference for young adult leaders will be parish, archdiocesan and regional conferences. Jaramillo is serving as communications chairman for the national event.

There are currently 40 Spanish young adult ministries, and Jaramillo supports them by offering spiritual formation programs, helping integrate the young adults into the U.S. Catholic Church, improving communications within and outside the archdiocese and providing apostolic activities and those focused on evangelization. The office has a goal that all young adult groups have components of formation, spirituality, integration, communication and apostolate.

Another event for Hispanic young adults is the soccer tournament on April 23 at the Gwinnett Sports Center in Suwanee for players on the 25 parish teams. A fiesta fund-raiser sponsored by the Hispanic and Anglo offices of Young Adult Ministry will be held on Friday, April 8, at the Three Dollar Café, 3302 Peachtree Road in Buckhead. This event will raise money to lay a foundation for an orphanage in El Salvador and for a Hispanic YAM mission team who will go there July 2-9. A $15 donation is requested, which includes salsa and meringue lessons at the event. All young adults are encouraged to attend.

The next monthly Spanish young adult Mass will be held on April 30 at Prince of Peace Church, Buford, preceded by an hour for adoration. The Masses are held the last Saturday of every month at a different parish. Cycle 6 of the Spanish Archdiocesan Catholic School focusing on charisms of the church will begin in October. The six-cycle program has priests teaching on topics including world religions, the sacraments and liturgy, with a goal to educate and form Hispanic lay leaders and future priests.

Leading up to the Pascua Juvenil, a committee of 16 young adults met for over 40 hours and attended four workshops in various cities with young adults from other dioceses to write a chapter for a seven-section Easter book published by the Southeastern Pastoral Institute. This book, which is on the theme of human dignity, was discussed by parish groups during Lent in preparation for the Easter event.

“The purpose is that that young adults groups have these themes for formation in their weekly meetings,” Jaramillo said.

The Atlanta Archdiocese will sponsor the first meeting for young adults across the Southeast May 14 to begin working on the book for discussion during Lent next year leading up to the 2006 Pascua Juvenil.

Other upcoming Spanish young adult retreats include the Youth with Christ, or “Juventud con Cristo,” retreat Sept. 2-4.

Jaramillo is eager to continue building the ministry and said the program is “so promising” that archdioceses of Detroit, Denver and San Antonio have asked to look at their program structures so that they can study and possibly replicate them.

The cost for the Pascua Juvenil is $10. Oglethorpe University is located at 4484 Peachtree Road, NE, Atlanta.


For information on Pascua Juvenil, call Jaramillo at (404) 456-3927 or Malessa Páez at (404) 372-6176. For information on other programs visit