Jesus Abrego, director of the Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Beaumont, has received $10,000 to go toward his ministry for being a nation-wide finalist for the 2012 Lumen Christi Award, an award given by Catholic Extension.
Only 12 finalists were chosen throughout the country. Now in its 35th year, the Lumen Christi Award is given to an individual or group working in one of America’s mission dioceses who shares the light of Christ with the communities they serve. Through their ministries, these hidden heroes stand witness to the transformative power of faith that changes hearts, lives and society.
The $10,000 Abrego received will be used as tuition assistance for Hispanic families to send their children to school at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School, Port Arthur.
In 2009, Abrego founded the Hispanic Family Conference. The event directly addressed the challenges faced by Hispanic Catholic families. Just two years later, conference attendance was so high that the diocese had to rent five separate venues to accommodate attendees. The event’s success is a powerful testament to the strength of Abrego’s ministry. Through his innovative programs, he mentors Hispanics of all ages, forming essential leaders for both the parish and diocesan level.
Abrego’s ministry began more than 10 years ago, before he assumed his current position as director of Hispanic Ministry. He founded a Hispanic leadership-training program for youth and young adults that has since grown into a three-step certification process, mobilizing young people on a quest to spread God’s love. He inspires the youth, coordinating monthly speakers to communicate the importance of education and healthy families.
With few Spanish-speaking priests in the diocese, communication is a vital part of Abrego’s ministry. By establishing adult leadership retreats, he has also created small communities of Hispanic Catholics that gather to share their struggles and assist one another in spiritual development. These core groups then organize the next round of retreats, so that others, too, can experience this sense of community. Through his expansive ministry, Abrego is fostering these new leaders who will guide the faith into a vibrant tomorrow.