Study of San Fernando Cathedral Project and Strategic Planning for Lay Leadership Program

Project Number: 
Start Date: 
Fri, 10/01/1993
End Date: 
Sat, 09/30/1995

The Mexican-American Cultural Center (MACC), located in San Antonio, Texas, supported two programs that focused first, on a study of the “public ritual and public theology” of the city’s vibrant San Fernando Cathedral community and, second, on the Center’s attempt to refocus training efforts in order to serve a newly-emerging lay constituency. Established in 1972 by Mexican-American Catholic theologian Virgilio Elizondo, MACC became a leading national center for pastoral education and language studies for Hispanic ministry. Over the years, San Antonio’s San Fernando Cathedral has teamed with MACC to provide leadership training and development within the Hispanic community. <p> Since 1738 the San Fernando Cathedral has served as a symbol of unity, ritual, and witness for the Tejano community even beyond the limits of official Roman Catholicism. The San Fernando Cathedral program, directed by Elizondo and Timothy Matovina, revealed the congregation to be a community which “unites the sacred elements of memory, people and imagination in a creative dynamic that gives life to all who enter its orbit.” Project methodology included: planning the inquiry, conducting a trial investigation, preparing a preliminary summary document, dialoguing with the Cathedral Heritage Foundation in Louisville (KY), collecting historical and contemporary photographs related to the Cathedral, preparing a book-length manuscript, and beginning to develop a learning process about cathedral congregations and other urban religious centers. Elizondo and Matovina authored the manuscript, which was later published and disseminated under the study’s continuation grant. <p> The objectives of MACC’s strategic planning process were five: (1) to clarify the major educational needs of lay Hispanics interested in ministry, (2) to develop plans to address these needs, (3) to identify the necessary pastoral materials for training, (4) to develop a strategy for identifying and reaching potential leaders, and (5) to provide financial support for MACC during a time of presidential transition. Administrators met these goals by entering into a long-range planning and review process that led to the development of a renewed mission statement, goals and objectives for the Mexican-American Cultural Center.