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Sister Norma Pimentel to Present at 2nd Annual Adelante Conference

on Thursday, 21 March 2019.

By: Melissa Pavloff

Adelante 2019 Sister Norma Pimentel, MJ

The Alliance for Catholic Education’s Catholic School Advantage and the University of Notre Dame’s Institute for Latino Studies will co-host the second annual Adelante conference from June 30 - July 2, 2019.

Featuring a wide variety of topics and presenters, the conference seeks to provide a platform for strategic discussion of various ways in which Catholic schools can expand efforts to embrace, educate and empower Latino families.

Sr. Norma Pimentel, MJ

Manuel Fernandez, program director of the Latino Enrollment Institute at the University of Notre Dame, expressed his appreciation for the opportunities and implications of the conference.

“The entire cohort has so many of the same goals that there are immediate bonds formed from the opening session,” he said. “Our participants rally the chance to grow our Church, the chance to give more Latino children an opportunity of a Catholic education and the chance to diversify our schools. It is a beautiful thing to be a part of.”

Dr. Katy Lichon, director of both Catholic School Advantage and ACE's English as a New Language Program, explained that the intent of the conference is to synthesize many diverse perspectives.

“The topic [of inclusion] can be approached through many lenses - that of a principal, educator, school marketing director or pastor- and each perspective matters immensely in this conversation,” she said.

I am deeply excited about learning from our variety of participants, walking away with take-home strategies and taking steps toward making our Church and Catholic schools more inviting to Latino families.”

"Sister Norma has a lived experience working with and fighting for migrant families, and we are delighted that she will be able to share her experiences with us this summer."

Sister Norma Pimentel, M.J., Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and the 2018 recipient of the University of Notre Dame’s Laetare Medal, is slated to speak at this year’s conference.

A lifelong champion of social justice, Sister Norma has dedicated her career to serving the needs of immigrant and refugee families. Herself the daughter of Mexican immigrants, she spent her childhood traveling back and forth between Brownsville, Texas and Matamoros, Mexico.

Since then, she has committed herself to providing support and resources to immigrants, noting that early on she “learned the importance of living out our faith by how we welcome and protect those who need us.”

Lichon expressed excitement about the ways in which Sister Norma’s presentation, which will hone in on her experiences along the Mexico-United States border, will adhere tightly to the core values of the Catholic school mission.

Sister Norma will be speaking directly to the obstacles facing Latino families and the deep sense of faith, perseverance, and hope gained from her devotion to welcoming Christ in the immigrant and refugee,” she said.

Fernandez echoed this anticipation about Sister Norma’s presentation, citing the relevance of her experience to the contemporary United States climate.

“Both sides of the political spectrum agree that there is a humanitarian crisis along the border, as we see in the news every day,” he said. “Sister Norma has a lived experience working with and fighting for migrant families, and we are delighted that she will be able to share her experiences with us this summer.”

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