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January 25, 2023

Living Your Faith in Challenging Times

Lessons from a Latino Pope for Young Latinos

Woman Pouring Drink from a Glass Pitcher to a Drinking Glass

The Initiative brought together young Latino leaders in Washington for good food, drink, and conversation on the opportunities available to Latinos under 40 at this time of personal, religious, and political challenges. We explored the message of Pope Francis, the first Latino pope, and how our Initiative can continue to convene young Latino leaders to discuss, network, and support one another in living their faith. During the reception and dinner, participants met other Latino leaders, learned more about the work of the Initiative on Catholic Social Thought and Public Life, offered their own perspectives and advice, and heard reflections from two respected leaders —Darius Villalobos, who works with young Catholics, and Juan Carlos Cruz, who is a close friend of Pope Francis—on what advice Pope Francis might have for young Latinos in the United States.


  • Juan Carlos Cruz is an executive in Washington, DC, and a close friend of Pope Francis. A survivor of clergy sexual abuse in Chile, he challenged Pope Francis to take decisive action on this global crisis.

  • Darius Villalobos is the director of strategic partnerships and diversity, equity, and inclusion at the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry.

  • Bishop Mario Dorsonville is an ​​auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington and the chair of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration and Refugees. He will join in the conversation and offer an opening prayer.

“The Lord asks us and, in the midst of our tempest, invites us to reawaken and put into practice that solidarity and hope capable of giving strength, support, and meaning to these hours when everything seems to be floundering.”  —Pope Francis, Urbi et orbi blessing, March 27, 2020

This was part of our Latino Leader Gatherings to explore key issues and personal stories involving faith and public life with distinguished Latinos and other leaders. Learn more about the Initiative’s Latino Leader Gatherings online.