“What instructions does the Lord give us for going forth to others? Only one, and it's very simple: make disciples.”

— Pope Francis
Today I invite you to meet Allan, a young father of three daughters, who is following the call to inspire missionary disciples, particularly in a Hispanic Catholic community.

Allan is a member of the CLI team and a facilitator for Parish Missionary Disciples (PMD), a special journey aimed at deepening discipleship and empowering evangelization. PMD is about seeing Jesus in our own lives… and then sharing Him with others.

READ BELOW about how this experience has been transformative for Hispanic Catholics… as well as for Allan’s own family!

P.S. I had the great joy of being a participant in Parish Missionary Disciples myself a few years ago. Truly, PMD has changed my role as a mother and disciple of Jesus.

Have you also participated in Parish Missionary Disciples? If so, I would be thrilled to hear your story. CLICK HERE to email me and tell me the difference PMD made for you!

Q&A With Allan Caballero, PMD Facilitator

Parish Missionary Disciples (PMD) is one of Catholic Leadership Institute’s special programs. This discipleship and evangelization training equips and prepares faithful Catholics to pray with others, share the Good News, evangelize, and deepen engagement with the sacraments.

This spirit is so critical for our Church to thrive for generations to come.

I am blessed to have Allan as a teammate on Catholic Leadership Institute’s Philanthropy Team. Allan also lends his talents to play a role in delivering PMD.

Below, hear from Allan about his experience in leading a special cohort of PMD for Spanish-speaking Catholics in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia!

What is your role in this endeavor?

I was a facilitator for the Parish Missionary Disciples Spanish track.

This opportunity arose out of a call in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia to really embrace missionary discipleship and to equip others to bring Jesus to more souls.

Why did you feel a passion and a call to participate in PMD?

I felt a great call to serve the mission for Catholic Leadership Institute in this way out of love for Christ and His Church.

I was not raised in the Catholic faith, and at the age of sixteen, I began my conversion to Catholicism in part, thanks to a group of faithful missionary disciples in my local Archdiocese whose mission was to evangelize those who had fallen away from the church, or like in my case, had never experienced an encounter with Christ.

I am grateful to God and to the selfless men and women who walked alongside me when I entered the Church over fourteen years ago. Their patience when teaching me Scripture, their love when teaching me how to pray, and their passionate invitation to serve alongside them served as an example and a call for me to minister to people in my local Church, especially those who long to be closer to Christ. It is through their example and in seeing the fruits of their missionary efforts in my own life that made me passionate and moved me to participate in an important endeavor like PMD.

The fruits of this program will be seen in the short and long term for the many participants the Lord has called to be leaders in the Church. Our investment and efforts today will bear fruit in the families, communities, and parishes of tomorrow.

Also, I feel very passionately that offering leadership programs such as PMD in Spanish is so important to the future of the US Church.

  • Hispanics account for 71% of the growth of the Catholic population in the United States since 1960.
  • 25% of all Catholic parishes serve Hispanics.
  • 60% of Catholics under the age of 18 are Hispanics.

These few stats represent a huge opportunity for our Church.

Tell me some great stories of transformation or deepened faith that you have encountered from participants?

The greatest moments of facilitating these sessions were the stories and feedback from the participants.

A man from St. Agnes Parish shared that Parish Missionary Disciples is the first time he had anyone pray for him. Now, he does this regularly for others.

Another participant from San Antonio de Padua Parish has been called to explore becoming a Deacon as an outcome of this experience.

Another faithful participant from Annunciation Parish shared that PMD was the first program that revealed Jesus’ call to him to be a missionary disciple in his local Church.

This really spoke to me. Wow.

He stated that during his many years as a member of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, he has attended many diocesan programs and events but that it was not until PMD that he understood the key role he plays in leading others to Christ.

A number of Latino young adults also participated in the program. As a group, they shared that one of the main reasons they were attending PMD was to learn how to evangelize people from their generation, including other Latino young adults in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

What great hope that gives me for the future of our Church!

What makes these Spanish-speaking cohorts of Parish Missionary Disciples so special?

Having worked with the Catholic Latino community for many years, I am aware of the need for greater investment in leadership and faith formation of Latino lay leaders in our local Church. The fast growth of Hispanic Catholics in the US Church, which is estimated to account for 71% of the growth of the entire Catholic population in the United States since 1960, serves as an invitation to church leaders and leading organizations like Catholic Leadership Institute to not only serve but effectively equip key faith leaders to become missionary disciples in their families, communities, and parishes.

CLI’s Spanish PMD is not only responding to a great need in the US Church, forming and equipping Latino/Hispanic lay leaders in their native language, but PMD is also a transformative experience for the participant’s personal relationship with Christ. The program’s focus on the sacraments, prayer, and the invitation to a deeper and more personal relationship with Christ allows participants to discover their God-given talents and listen to God’s invitation to courageously respond to the needs of the local Church.

Through PMD, CLI is impacting entire multicultural communities of faith and setting the ground for them to grow and welcome new people as is expected in the upcoming years.

How could PMD benefit parents and caregivers?

The skills and content learned in PMD are applicable to many aspects of our lives, including family life. Many parents, including myself, who have participated in PMD have shared how PMD taught them things that despite being so important in our faith, prior to PMD they had never learned before, such as praying with and for others, leading small Bible groups, and leading prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament.

Through PMD, parents and caregivers can learn and are also encouraged to pray with their children at home and reflect on Scripture verses while also learning listening and communication skills that make a conversation with their children and others more enjoyable and effective.

How has PMD changed the way you personally pray with others and specifically with your children?

I have three daughters, and I am deeply called to my vocation as a father and husband. I regularly find myself using elements from Parish Missionary Disciples in how we as a family move closer to Jesus.

In my own family, PMD has transformed the way I see my role as a husband and father of three. PMD has taught me how important it is to build meaningful relationships with others the way Jesus did with his first disciples.

The program has deepened my desire to serve the Church and to do so along with my family. We pray for the Church, Her leaders, and for our own call to be missionary disciples in our parishes and at home. It has made me proactive about evangelizing my children and others.

What would you say to the donors who made this possible?

The joy and gratitude of our participants in the Spanish PMD, is something I cannot express with words. Each session, a different participant would approach me to say, “THANK YOU” and share how the material and the overall experience were something they were enjoying and were grateful for.

On my behalf, what I would say to a donor that made this training possible is THANK YOU. Thank you for your generosity and for your investment in our beloved Church. Your gift is transforming lives, equipping key lay leaders with effective ministry tools while also impacting entire multicultural communities of faith in our home diocese.

Please join me in praying for all those – past and present – who have participated in or facilitated CLI’s Parish Missionary Disciples. May we all be reminded of our Baptismal call to lead one another towards Jesus’ never-ending love!

by Becky Reilley

January 18, 2023

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