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Hispanic Catholics will comprise the majority of Catholic Americans soon, but experts in Latino ministry say it’s crucial to implement measures to keep them engaged with their ancestral faith.

by JONATHAN LIEDL 11/03/2014

Facebook/Catholic Extension

Latino Catholics participate in a celebration Dec. 12, 2013, at Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission in the Archdiocese of Anchorage, Alaska.

– Facebook/Catholic Extension

HOUSTON — Against the backdrop of dire statistics showing large numbers of U.S. Latinos are leaving the Catholic faith, U.S. Church leaders are making efforts to better reach the country’s youngest and fastest-growing population.

In a speech delivered Aug. 19 in Houston to leaders in the Latino community, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia stated, “Demography equals destiny,” noting that Hispanics are projected to make up the majority of U.S. Catholics in the near future. Because of this reality, Archbishop Chaput said the Church needs to place added emphasis on catechizing the Latino community and developing leaders from within it.

Archbishop Chaput’s remarks come in the wake of a Pew study on American Hispanics’ religious affiliation that was published earlier this year. The study found that the percentage of Latinos who are Catholic had dropped by 12 points in the last four years alone, from 67% to 55%. One in four American Latinos, the study adds, are “ex-Catholics.”

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