By JOANNE FOX
SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. – A two-day Hispanic charismatic congress will draw hundreds from the tristate area to experience the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The 14th Annual Hispanic Charismatic Congress for the Diocese of Sioux City will be held July 14-15 at the Marina Inn Conference Center, South Sioux City. The theme is: Mary, the Ark of the New Covenant. Bishop Walker Nickless will celebrate the opening Mass at 9 a.m. on July 14.
According to Humberto Perez of Sioux City, one of the organizers of the event, this is the first time the congress will focus on the Mother of God.
“She is the go-between for us and her son,” he said. “We thought this would be a good time to remind everyone of that.”
Organizers from Denison, Storm Lake and Sioux City have been meeting since last year’s Hispanic Congress to put together this year’s event. Of particular concern was the low attendance at last year’s congress, Perez admitted.
“What happened was the Archdiocese of Omaha scheduled its charismatic congress the same time and that hurt our attendance,” he said. “This year, we made sure the two dates would not be the same time to enable individuals the opportunity to attend both.”
Perez, who has been associated with the event since its inception, noted last year’s local celebration paralleled the 50th anniversary of the charismatic renewal. The charismatic renewal centers on the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” in which God’s Spirit renews and fills a person with grace.
“Who better to help us be renewed than our Blessed Lady?” Perez asked. “This is especially true for our young people, who need to be filled with the Holy Spirit and grow in their devotion to Mary.”
The South Sioux City event will feature several speakers. Father Mario Castaneda was born in Colombia and studied at Pontifical University in Columbia with the Jesuits. He was ordained for the Diocese of Stockton, Calif., in 1995 and has served the Palm Beach Diocese since 2002. He is currently the pastor at St. John Fisher Parish. Father Castaneda also serves as the spiritual director of a preaching ministry called “Tu Palabra Hoy” (Your Word Today).
Fernando Gomez is an Ecuadorian Christian singer-songwriter based in Miami. He participates in seminars and retreats of the Archdiocese of Miami and belongs to Mother of Our Redeemer Parish, where he met his wife Miriam. Both Fernando and Miriam left their jobs and founded the Catholic Ministry of Evangelization Christian Varieties.
Father Ubaldo Roque Huerta is a priest of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester. He attended the Seminary of Tacambaro Michacan and Seminario Hispano de Santa Maria de Guadalupe, both in Mexico and was ordained in 2008. He currently serves as parochial vicar at St. Mary Parish, Worthington, Minn., and assists with Hispanic ministry.
If you go:
What: The 14th Annual Hispanic Charismatic Congress for the Diocese of Sioux City
Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Date: July 14-15
Place: Marina Inn Conference Center, South Sioux City, Neb.
Cost: $25 for the two days
Questions: Humberto Perez (712) 574-2725