ANNAPOLIS, MD 10-17-16---In response to a recommendation from the Maryland bishops, the Maryland Catholic Conference has created a new Latino Outreach Coordinator position. Katharina (Kat) Acosta joined the Conference staff on August 15.
Acosta will work closely with the Conference’s Advocacy and Outreach department to engage Maryland’s Latino community in legislative initiatives. She will maintain a Spanish-language version of the Maryland Catholic Conference website (www.mdcathcon.org/en-espanol), Facebook page (www.facebook.com/LaConferenciaCatolicadeMaryland/) and created a Latino Twitter account (www.twitter.com/MCCLatino). She will also establish points of contact in parishes with a significant Latino presence.
“I am thrilled the bishops took the lead on creating this new position and Kat is already making a difference,” said Mary Ellen Russell, the executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference. “She brings a deep love of her Catholic faith, as well as experience and passion for advocacy. Latino and Spanish-speaking parishioners need a voice and she will be our conduit to that growing population. The network will allow her to establish and maintain regular communication with parish leaders so that she can bring forward their concerns and provide them with tools to become actively engaged on legislative priorities and advocacy activities.”
A 2014 study by Boston College (http://bit.ly/1vLRt3y), indicated that Latinos make up nearly 40 percent of the Catholic population in the United States. The report also showed that while American Latino/Hispanic Catholics have higher participation rates in sacramental activities, such as attending Mass, baptisms and first communions, there are lower participation rates in other aspects of parish life than other American Catholics.
“Fifty percent of Catholic millennials in the United States are Latino and that increases to sixty percent for those 18 years and under,” Acosta said. “These young Catholics are bilingual, bright and eager to bring out the many flavors of a culture that carries a strong sense of faith and family connection. By relying on the drive and passion of the youth, we can light a spark that will help to bring forth and gather all within the community to recognize the importance of public policy and legislative issues that the Catholic Church and the Latino Community face together.”
Acosta most recently worked at Healthcare for the Homeless in Baltimore and also served as the Hispanic Ministry coordinator for St. Mary’s Parish in Annapolis, where she still serves as a cantor. She holds a Bachelors of Music degree from The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music at The Catholic University of America. While there, she was involved in the Campus Youth and Music Ministry. Acosta is currently a section leader in the choir and cantor at The National Shrine of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Baltimore.