New Initiatives Promote Civic and Church Leadership Among Hispanic Students

The University of the Incarnate Word (UIW) and the Mexican American Catholic College (MACC) are developing new initiatives in Texas to promote civic and church leadership among southwestern college students.  

Both San Antonio institutions serve predominantly Hispanic student populations.  Nationally, Hispanics are part of a vital church trend, representing 35% of U.S. Catholics overall and 50% of those under 26. Yet only 13% hold a bachelors degree. Higher education will help Hispanic Catholics develop as leaders, improve their communities’ prospects and deepen their intellectual contributions toward the church’s future.

Following more than forty years of collaboration serving the Hispanic community, UIW and MACC are offering a new bilingual undergraduate degree in Pastoral Ministry to prepare their students for leadership within the culturally diverse contemporary church.  The degree is offered by UIW with additional courses taught by MACC faculty; students will be drawn from both campuses.

UIW has also entered into a partnership with CHRISTUS Health to create a Center for Civic Leadership.  The new Center will facilitate opportunities for civic leader development guided by the values of Catholic Social Teaching, strengthening existing local partnerships and connecting with global health and education efforts.  

In reflection of UIW’s wider commitment to community service and social justice, it joined with Catholic Charities in 2012 to expand service-learning opportunities within the Refugee Resettlement Program in San Antonio. UIW is an active member of the President’s Interfaith and Community Service Campus Challenge and hosted a Regional Interfaith Conference in August 2013 to engage higher education and religious leaders in interfaith dialogue.  

FADICA thanks UIW and MACC for the core of this article. For additional information, contact Dr. Eilish Ryan, CCVI, director of the Pastoral Institute, at (210) 829-3871 or by e-mail at or Alma Alvarado, MACC registrar, or Dr. Arturo Chávez, MACC president, at (210) 732-2156.