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  • The Alliance for Catholic Education’s Catholic School Advantage (CSA) program invites you to join us on campus, June 28-30, 2020, for our third annual Adelante Conference.

    Adelante builds on the success of the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI), which for eight years has been an exceptionally effective engine of Latino enrollment growth in Catholic schools around the country. While the LEI’s explicit focus on school-level change necessitates the commitment of school teams, including year-long leadership formation for principals, Adelante offers an alternative, which is open to a variety of constituents.

    LEI EnrollmentGrowth Graphic

    We recognize that there are many actors working to advance educational opportunities for Latinos in the United States. Therefore, Adelante will feature a broad range of topics and speakers that will address the variety of ways in which Catholic schools and parishes can work creatively together to embrace, educate, and empower Latino families through the vital ministry of Catholic education.

    This two-and-a-half day conference will help build awareness around topics pertaining to Latinos in Catholic schools, as well as expand the network of advocates for this mission. Adelante will embody the overarching mission of the Catholic School Advantage — to promote the unique value of Catholic schools to Latino families, and to help schools and parishes respond effectively to the unique needs of Latino families. In doing so, the conference topics will address the three core goals of the CSA: to embrace the universality of the Church through an increase in Latino enrollment, to educate culturally and linguistically diverse children through excellent academic formation, and to empower all families through the celebration of faith, language, and culture.

    We encourage the participation of Catholic school principals, educators, marketing coordinators, recruiters, school board members, counselors, madrinas/parent ambassadors, directors of religious education, business managers, Hispanic ministers, and anyone else who is engaged in this mission to advance educational opportunities for Latino children.

    We firmly believe that Catholic schools are one of the most powerful institutions for human formation and societal transformation, whose impact is especially pronounced amongst the growing number of Latino youth. Join us this summer to learn more about how we can all work together to put Latino children and our nation on the path to a bright future.


  • Adelante will feature a broad range of topics and speakers that will address the variety of ways in which Catholic schools, parishes, and dioceses can work together to embrace, educate, and empower Latino children and families through Catholic education. We will offer several keynote presentations, as well as numerous breakout sessions tailored to the specific realities of Catholic schools serving—or aspiring to serve—a culturally and linguistically diverse student population.

    By attending Adelante, you will learn from school, parish, and diocesan leaders with demonstrated success in implementing innovative Latino outreach strategies, as well as from some of the nation's top scholars working to promote a deeper understanding of the U.S. Latino experience. Conference sessions will be built around the three core goals of the Catholic School Advantage, and will help foster robust discussions around how we can embrace, educate, and empower Latino families through Catholic schools.

    Benefits of attending Adelante

    • Learn about the fastest-growing and youngest population in the United States and its implications for the Catholic Church and Catholic schools

    • Learn proven strategies on how to attract Latino families to Catholic schools

    • Develop a deeper understanding of cultural influences in the lives of children and how to create culturally sustaining classrooms and schools

    • Network with other Catholic school and diocesan leaders from around the country who are engaged in this vital ministry

    • Learn how to leverage community resources to promote your school and grow enrollment

    • Learn strategies for ensuring the long-term sustainability of your Catholic school through proven advancement practices

    • Gain insights into forming a cohesive unit between the school and the parish

  • We have not yet set our lineup of speakers for the 2020 Adelante conference, but you can see those who joined us for the 2019 conference below.

    • Sister Norma Pimentel
    • Bishop Arturo Cepeda
    • Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.
    • Fr. Dan Groody, C.S.C.
    • Luis Fraga, Ph.D.
    • Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J.

      Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ

      Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J., Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and most recent recipient of the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal—the oldest and most prestigious honor given to American Catholics—is a longtime advocate for immigrants and refugees.

      A religious sister of the Missionaries of Jesus, Sister Pimentel has overseen the charitable arm of the Diocese of Brownsville (Texas) since 2008, providing a range of services that includes emergency food and shelter, housing assistance, clinical counseling and pregnancy care to all four counties in the Rio Grande Valley. She was instrumental in organizing local response to the 2014 surge of Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States. This included helping to establish the Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas.

      In 2015, Pope Francis recognized and thanked Sister Pimentel personally for her work with immigrants in a virtual town hall meeting that was featured on ABC’s “20/20.” Also in 2015, she was named one of “Our Sunday Visitor’s” 2015 Catholics of the Year and won a nomination for “Texan of the Year.”

      Herself the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Sister Pimentel grew up crossing back and forth from Brownsville to Matamoros, Mexico, to be with family on both sides of the border. It was while her parents were awaiting response from U.S. authorities on their application for residency that Sister Pimentel’s mother gave birth to her in Texas.

      In her reflection on immigrants in “A Pope Francis Lexicon,” Sister Pimentel wrote: “I am a U.S. citizen by chiripa — sheer chance. I grew up entre dos fronteras, enjoying life in two countries, Mexico and the United States.”

      Sister Pimentel said some of her most formative and pivotal experiences took place shortly after she professed final vows with the Missionaries of Jesus. Border patrol agents would bring immigrant families to the sisters’ convent, often late at night. Sister Pimentel said Sister Juliana Garcia, her religious superior at the time, “would immediately prepare a room to welcome the family when they arrived. The mother and her children would become part of our community family for about a week or so, and I quickly learned the importance of living out our faith by how we welcome and protect those who need us.”

      For Sister Pimentel, the call to compassion to those in need extends to all Christians—and results in radical transformation. “Scripture comes to life and our faith becomes flesh,” she said. “It is not until you find yourself in front of the face of the immigrant child or mother that you will understand this. It is a moment of realizing we are all one human family.”

      Sister Pimentel received a bachelor of fine arts degree from Pan American University, a master’s degree in theology from St. Mary’s University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Loyola University Chicago.

      Source: Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J., champion of immigrants, to receive Notre Dame’s 2018 Laetare Medal

    • Bishop Arturo Cepeda

      Bishop Arturo Cepeda

      In April 2011, Pope Benedict XVI named the Most Rev. Arturo Cepeda, a priest from San Antonio, as auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Detroit. One month later he was ordained by Archbishop Allen Vigneron, becoming the youngest bishop in the United States at age 41.

      Bishop Cepeda had most-recently served as rector of Assumption Seminary in San Antonio. He was born in Mexico and immigrated to the U.S. with his family at age 19. Bishop Cepeda later studied at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Anglicum) where he received a licentiate and doctorate of sacred theology. He was ordained a priest in 1996.

      Bishop Cepeda also serves as episcopal vicar and regional moderator for the Northwest Region of the archdiocese.

    • Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

      Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

      Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C., serves as the Director of University-School Partnerships for the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) and the Coordinator of Student Care for Campus Ministry at the University of Notre Dame. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1976, entered Moreau Seminary in 1977, and was ordained a Holy Cross priest in 1984. After serving for six years at the University of Portland, he spent twelve years as Pastor of St. John Vianney Parish in Goodyear, Arizona, where he founded the first Catholic school to be opened in the diocese in 30 years. Subsequently, Fr. Joe returned to Portland, Oregon, to serve as Pastor of Holy Redeemer Parish, for seven years. Fr. Joe returned to Notre Dame in 2009 to the Alliance for Catholic Education's Catholic School Advantage, and has worked closely with bishops, pastors, and superintendents to make Catholic schools available, affordable, and accessible to Latino children and families.

      Fr. Joe also serves in the Office of Campus Ministry as chaplain to Latino students and chaplain to LGBT students. He works closely with first generation students and economically poor students at the University of Notre Dame.

    • Fr. Dan Groody, C.S.C.

      Fr. Joe Corpora, C.S.C.

      Fr. Dan Groody, C.S.C., is associate professor of theology and global affairs at the University of Notre Dame and the director of the Global Leadership Program within the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, where he is also a faculty fellow. He is a Catholic priest, a Holy Cross religious, and an award-winning professor, author, and film producer.

      Drawing on years of work on international migration and refugee issues, Groody has authored numerous books and articles, translated into seven languages, which include Globalization, Spirituality, and Justice: Navigating the Path to Peace (Orbis, 2007) and Border of Death, Valley of Life: An Immigrant Journey of Heart and Spirit (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).

      He is also the executive producer of several internationally acclaimed films and documentaries, including One Border, One Body: Immigration and the Eucharist, and Dying to Live: A Migrant's Journey. He teaches the courses “The Heart’s Desire and Social Change,” “Theology of Migration,” and “Christian Faith and Global Justice,” and he lectures widely around the world.

      Groody has worked with the US Congress, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the World Council of Churches, the Vatican, and the United Nations on issues of theology, globalization, migration, and refugees. In 2007–08 he was a visiting research fellow at Oxford University's Refugee Studies Centre.

      He holds a BA from the University of Notre Dame, an MDiv and a licentiate in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology, and a PhD in theology from the Graduate Theological Union.

    • Luis Ricardo Fraga, Ph.D.

      Luis R Fraga

      Luis Ricardo Fraga, Ph.D., is the Director of the Institute for Latino Studies, the Acting Chair of the Department of Political Science, the Notre Dame Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership, the Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Professor of Political Science and a Fellow for the Institute for Educational Initiatives. He has been on the faculty at the University of Washington, Stanford University, and the University of Oklahoma, and is a native of Corpus Christi, Texas.

      Fraga has contributed greatly to the national discussion about problems facing Latino communities. His most recent work, Latinos in the New Millennium: An Almanac of Opinion, Behavior, and Policy Preferences, draws on data from the groundbreaking 2006 Latino National Survey to create a comprehensive profile of Latino political life in the United States. Fraga was one of six principal investigators of the survey—the largest and most detailed source of data on Hispanics in America. This study, he said, displays the complexity of Latinos, from recent immigrants to those whose grandparents were born in the United States.

      At Notre Dame, Fraga said his charge as the Professor in Transformative Latino Leadership is to establish a program that will inform, challenge, and inspire the next generation of leaders who choose to serve as advocates on behalf of Latino communities. In his advocacy for Latino communities, Fraga has helped to establish two two-way immersion programs at Catholic schools, most recently at Holy Cross Catholic School in South Bend, Indiana.

  • Cost

    Please check back in December 2019 for details related to registration and cost.

    Should you have any questions in the meantime, please contact Manny Fernandez at .

    1. How does Adelante differ from the Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI)?

    2. The Latino Enrollment Institute is geared towards schools seeking to recruit and serve Latino students, where each principal gets an LEI coach who supports the principal throughout the school year. Adelante is geared toward individuals looking to learn more about the Latino community, how to recruit Latino families, how to better serve Latino families in Catholic schools, how parishes and schools can work together, how to deal with immigration issues, and much more.

    3. Who should attend Adelante?

      With multiple breakout sessions throughout the conference, Adelante will be beneficial for a wide range of Church and school employees. Some of them include: principals, marketing coordinators, recruiters, school board members, teachers, counselors, madrinas/parent ambassadors, dual language advocates, DREs, UCCE advocates, business managers, Hispanic ministers, advancement directors, Hispanic liaisons, etc.

    4. What is the timeline for registration?

      The registration period will open up in December 2019 (actual date is forthcoming).

    5. What is the cost to attend Adelante?

      Specifics about cost will be posted on the website when the registration goes live in December. The registration fee includes all accommodations, meals, and materials while you are on campus, but all participants are responsible for their own travel.

    6. Can I use Title funds to pay the registration fee?

      Yes, we strongly encourage schools to access Title II (professional development) and Title III (English language learners) funds to defray the cost of attending the Adelante conference. On the registration form, a participant can request to pay via title funds, and we will send the participant an invoice, a Notre Dame W9 form, and an agenda that will satisfy the local education agencies (LEAs).

    7. What time should I plan to arrive and depart Adelante?

      Adelante begins at 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 28, 2020. Participants can check into the residence hall starting at noon. The conference will conclude at noon on Tuesday, June 30. Please note that if you are coming from the west coast and are unable to travel and arrive on time the day the conference begins, arrangements can be made for an extra night in the dorm.

    8. What is the closest airport to the University of Notre Dame?

      The closest airport is South Bend International Airport (SBN), which is about a 12-minute cab ride to the University of Notre Dame. It is often more expensive than other major hubs, but this largely depends on where you are traveling from. Midway International Airport and O'Hare International Airport are both in Chicago, and the commute, on average, is about two hours. Both airports are considerably less expensive to fly into. Midway is a bit closer to campus than O'Hare, and is also the smaller of the two airports.

    9. What are the accommodations like on campus?

      Participants stay in an air-conditioned residence hall on campus at the University of Notre Dame. All rooms are single occupancy with a sink, while the bathrooms and showers are shared and gender-specific by floor.

    10. Can I stay in the residence hall an extra night should I choose to arrive a day early or stay an extra day?

    11. Yes, you may come a day early or stay one extra night if you so choose. We understand that for some people, especially those traveling from the west coast, it can often be extremely difficult (and sometimes impossible) to arrive in time for the opening session of the conference when departing that same day. Conference participants also frequently choose to extend their stay an extra day to explore Notre Dame's campus, which is beautiful in the summer. There will be an additional fee of $65 per night should you choose to stay an extra night in the dorm. If this is something you plan to do, please select this option your registration form.

    12. If I choose to forego the accommodations provided in the residence hall on campus, will I receive a discount in my registration fee?

      Unfortunately, no. The cost to attend the conference is a flat fee, regardless whether or not participants choose to stay on campus in the accommodations provided. Should you choose to make other arrangements for your time here at Notre Dame, it will be in addition to the conference registration fee and at your own expense.

    13. What should I bring to the conference?

      Other than walking shoes, clothes, and maybe an umbrella (we do have an occasional summer shower at random times), there is not much to bring. Participants will stay in a dorm on campus. The dorm is air-conditioned and each room has a sink, but not a private bath or shower (there are community bathrooms). All rooms have bedding and towels and blankets. Now, while this is a nice dorm, we realize that everyone has their own idea of "comfortable." The vast majority of past participants have been fine with the dorm accommodations, but others, in the past, have suggested you might want to bring:

      • shower shoes
      • your own pillow, if this is something you are particular about
      • your own blanket, again, if this is something you are particular about
      • bathrobe

    14. What is the suggested attire?

      Please be comfortable and relaxed. There will be no events in which you have to wear anything formal. We will be attending the Sunday evening Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at 9:00 p.m. the first night, but during the summer months, dress for this Mass is very casual as well. We just want you to be comfortable during your time here.

    If you have any further questions, please contact Manny Fernandez at or 574-631-9434.

Interested in Adelante?

Learn more about the Adelante summer conference by contacting Manny Fernandez at , or 574-631-9434. 

Important Dates

  • December 12, 2019: Registration Opens
  • May 31, 2020: Registration Deadline
  • June 28 - 30, 2020: Summer Conference


"I learned so much about understanding the changing demographics in our nation. We are seeing this in our own school but have not done well to react or build a culture to enhance our enrollment. We have much work to do, but we have a path and direction coming out of this gathering. I learned a ton and I really enjoyed the time we had together!"

-Jim Huth
Bishop Luers High School | Fort Wayne, IN

"Phenomenal program - I am so glad that I attended! It was very moving and inspiring (and eye-opening!) Gracias por todo su trabajo y preparaciones!"

-Bill Hobbs
Network of Sacred Heart Schools
Washington, DC

"I was energized and moved by the conference and looking forward to taking the information and inspiration into my own work and the efforts in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. I hope to have opportunities to share these experiences, through myself and directly, with many others. Thank you!"

-John Amann
The Pursuit Academy | St. Paul, MN