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Institute for Pastoral Initiatives News

Hispanic event offers youth exposure to Faith

By Liliana P. Montoya, M.DIV.

It was really moving to see young people showing a lot of reverence and respect, kneeling in front of the Eucharist in silent adoration.

Last month, more than 120 students, ages 15-20, gathered at the University of Dayton's Curran Place for a bilingual event organized by the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives in coordination with local parishes in the Cincinnati area. 

Moved by the presentations, music, testimonies and a moment of spiritual healing with the Blessed Sacrament, these young participants lived a transformative moment of recognition of the beauty of the Most Blessed Sacrament, asking questions openly and seeking reconciliation with God. Many priests from the Cincinnati area were able to assist participants providing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, in both English and Spanish.

Fr. Martin I. Esguerra, a Missionary of Mercy appointed by Pope Francis in 2016 during the Jubilee of the Year of Mercy, allowed participants to reflect about how the eucharistic miracle is rooted or incarnated in a context of a fully bilingual reality. Esguerra called on them, as the young Church in America, to respond and embrace the mystery of the Eucharist as a sacrament of communion to break barriers and bring healing to a broken world.

Reflections about the impact of young saints like Carlo Acutis also allowed participants to realize that holiness is real and possible in today’s world.

This event is part of an ongoing effort to expose and connect younger generations with the beauty of our faith, particularly with the beauty of the Eucharist. I feel that when we offer these opportunities of reflection and adoration, we are offering young people a direct encounter with the living God.

Liliana Montoya is the Coordinator for Hispanic Outreach and online courses at the Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF) and the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives. Online courses in Spanish are available year-round. Liliana can be reached at

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