Evangelical Charity Engagement Family Ministry Discipleship Formation Worship Podcast
Meet Brenda Hascall, Hispanic Ministry Coordinator Meet Brenda Hascall, Hispanic Ministry Coordinator

The Department of Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship welcomes a new Hispanic Ministry Coordinator. Get to know our new coworker in mission, Brenda Hascall, and what she brings to help unleash the Gospel in the Archdiocese of Detroit.

Tell us a little bit about your background and your journey as a joyful missionary disciple.

I was born and raised in Mexico in a family of 6, attended a bilingual American Benedictine school, and went to college there. I have a loving and supportive husband from Michigan and two adult children. My journey of life, like most, has had ups and downs. I believe that all we do in life, all our days, every person in our midst, good and bad experiences, are an opportunity to follow the path to Jesus. In perseverance (Rm 2:7), we get up when we fall, reaching out to Him. Looking back, we can see the connecting dots in our lives and a series of conversions. Having access to Our Lord and through the loving intercession from Our Holy Mother and the Saints is like calling the heavenly SOS line to encounter the love, mercy, healing power, and peace of Jesus. And this is worth sharing.

What books, articles, or other resources have influenced the way you approach your role?

My daily support is constant communication in prayer, the rosary, the sacraments, and the daily Word of God. I return to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, online Catholic websites, apps, groups, conferences, programs, seminars, classes, and Catholic Church writings and literature. My most familiar saints are St. Anthony of Padua, the gentlest servant of Christ, and St. Teresa of Avila, her poetic writings, her spirituality, and her understanding of the mind.

I had a strong encounter and conversion when I was pregnant and in danger of losing my first child and received in prayer Lk. 13:19. I knew I had to share this and all the everyday miracles of the living God. I became a catechist and enjoyed learning through every school grade, eventually getting certified and staying six years preparing eighth graders for confirmation. There I learned about Catholic Social Teaching. Later Fr. John Ricardo, with Christ Is the Answer, opened the door to Humane Vitae, and then John Martignioni from Catholic Radio, introduced me to apologetics. Recently, Sacred Heart Major Seminary has given me a powerful insight with their many wonderful and vast online courses and their great professors and community.

Do you have a favorite quote or Marker of the UTG Pastoral Letter?

My parish is St. Thomas More, Troy. I remember participating in the sessions for Synod 16. Later, while serving in the Parish Council, I read the Pastoral Letter. I was amazed! The signs of times! One of my favorite quotes is from Marker 5.1 – No Bystanders, “Since the laity, in accordance with their state of life, live in the midst of the world and its concerns, they are called by God to exercise their apostolate in the world like leaven, with the ardor of the spirit of Christ” (Second Vatican Council). There are billions of people, many in our neighborhoods, streets, jobs, in our midst, that will never go to a Church, much less think about talking to a priest. We all have the responsibility of not keeping the light of God given to us under a basket (Mt. 5: 14-16) but to shine the light with works, words, and deeds to glorify God.

What experiences have you had that have deepened your appreciation for the work you get to do as Hispanic Ministry Coordinator?

Doing social work with Hispanics in Oakland County gave me a deeper insight into the family needs of our communities. Material needs were usually met by secular and religious organizations. I met many people in crisis that were not practicing their Catholic faith– circumstances had taken them away, and many others were lured away. Abortion, immoral and hurtful practices, and ideas were propagated to vulnerable families. I didn’t use the word then, but I became a missionary. Families are precious, the plan of God, they are worth protecting, they are the cradle for the propagation of faith, the foundation of communities, virtue, and love. (UTG Guidepost #7 - Families). As a missionary in the Archdiocese of Detroit, I met with the enthusiasm, the strong faith, the variety, and size of the Hispanic Ministries, and the big effort on the part of our priests to have bilingual communities.

What are some of your goals for your first year in this role?

While the rest of the world is going through Synods, the Archdiocese is ahead, we have our marching guidelines with the Pastoral Letter Unleash the Gospel. We are on a roll; the Evangelization and Missionary Discipleship Department want to continue to move forward by working together with Missionary Strategic Plans (MSP) in Families of Parishes. Our goal is to become a missionary diocese. We have twenty-six parishes with Hispanic Ministry. With the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I would like to serve the Church and support these communities to grow in faith and to reach out internally and externally so that everyone has a chance to encounter Jesus through the witness and accompaniment of joyful missionary disciples. Those encounters should have an opportunity to meet the living Jesus, His love and mercy, in the way we live, in prayer, in the sacraments, and especially in the Eucharist.

We have much to continue with the MSP plans, as they are living documents that are to be reviewed and updated as missionary creativity advances to incorporate our growing Hispanic population. We will continue the support of the Hispanic Men’s Conference, coming this year on June 25th, and its focus is the Eucharist. The Hispanic Women’s Conference will be in October 2024, with this year’s focus on Mk. 5:41 “…I say unto thee, arise”and the evangelizing Conference of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the fall. God willing, I will continue to work in support and collaboration of different ministries and departments that make us a more evangelizing diocese, including the amazing continuous testimonials in "Estoy Aqui" (“I Am Here,” personal stories of encounters in the Eucharist iamhere.org/es/historias), the witnessing stories in Detroit Catholic in Español, and promoting and growing an evangelical culture of life in our Families of Parishes in Spanish and in Evangelical Charity.

Why do you think strengthening Hispanic outreach in our Families of Parishes is so critical for the Archdiocese of Detroit at this particular moment?

As of 2023, there are over half a million Hispanics in Michigan! The Church is universal, we are all the body of Christ and we have so much richness to give to each other with different cultures. For many first-generation Hispanics like me, Spanish is the first language, so good communication is basic. People need a Church community to thrive, to find the way to live, the truth, and abundant life to follow a path to discipleship.

What is a word of encouragement you have for those who currently serve in parishes throughout the Archdiocese, especially those with large Hispanic populations?

I have met wonderful servants of God, full of Love for Christ, Our Holy Mother, the Saints, the Church, and people, and have hope in the Holy Spirit that Family of Parishes will be a positive synergy between parishes that are no longer isolated, but communities of faith and love. I can think how pleased God must be. We have an Action Step 2.1 in Unleash the Gospel, “Build a culture of life-changing personal encounter with Jesus that permeates every aspect of parish life and that leads to a loving encounter of our neighbor. (e.g., children, youth, adults, and seniors).” We work together using our charisms to give to others and to support each other, but the ultimate help comes from God’s grace.

How can parish leaders get in touch with you?

My email is [email protected]. We have a web page with resources at aod.org/ministerio-hispano, and a Facebook Group (Ministerio Hispano de la Arquidiósesis de Detroit) where we welcome the input and updates of events and ministries in AOD parishes.