"Catholic School Advantage" Innovator Rudy Vargas Honored for Latino Ministry
Vargas, Field Consultant with ACE, Receives William Sadlier Dinger Award
Rudy Vargas, a New York City-based field consultant with the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE), has received the 2013 William Sadlier Dinger Award for Ministry in the Hispanic Community.
Vargas, who works directly with Catholic schools to increase Latino enrollments in the Archdiocese of New York through ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign, accepted the award Aug. 28 from publishing executive William Sadlier Dinger. The presentation occurred during the annual conference of the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry.
The award recognizes Vargas’ numerous “contributions to the Hispanic community in America during the past 25-plus years,” said Dinger, president of William H. Sadlier, Inc. He told Vargas, “Your deep faith and many skills have made you a source of blessing to so many people.”
Vargas joined ACE in 2010 to help advance the nationwide Catholic School Advantage campaign to boost Latino access to Catholic schools. He is the executive director of the Northeast Hispanic Catholic Center, serving 34 dioceses in the Northeast United States.
His previous work in ministry included service as executive director of the Center for Catholic Lay Leadership. He was also president of the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry.
He serves as a board member of Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA).
His contributions to ACE’s partnership with the Archdiocese of New York include the advancement of an innovative “madrinas” initiative in archdiocesan schools, encouraging respected family members in Latino neighborhoods (such as madrinas, or godmothers) to spread the good word about Catholic schools among local families.
Vargas commented that his years of experience with Hispanic ministry “helped give me a good understanding of how to organize the madrinas program” for the Catholic School Advantage campaign. He said he has benefited from a “network of support” among Hispanic Catholic leaders at the local and national level, helping him to develop new leadership through the madrinas.
ACE’s Catholic School Advantage campaign is a nationwide effort to double the enrollment of Latino children in U.S. Catholic schools. Insights from the campaign, such as inviting the support of madrinas, are being implemented in schools around the country as a growing number of principals embrace the financial, cultural, and managerial strategies for increasing Latino access to Catholic schools and helping to keep inner-city Catholic schools open.
Dinger is president of William H. Sadlier, Inc., a publisher of print, digital, and online educational materials and of Catholic catechetical materials. A Notre Dame alumnus, Dinger is known for his support of K-12 education and Catholic education in particular.
The William Sadlier Dinger Award for Ministry in the Hispanic Community, established in 2009, recognizes an individual or organization for outstanding leadership strengthening the Church in the Latino community.
Rodolfo Vargas IV holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York (SUNY) Empire State College and a master’s degree in pastoral leadership from Fordham University.
Photo courtesy of William H. Sadlier, Inc.: At the award presentation, William Sadlier Dinger (left) and Rudy Vargas.