Blanca Primm has been named the new director of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville. She succeeds Lourdes Garza, who passed away in July after a long battle with cancer.
With 10 years of experience working in the Hispanic Ministry Office, Mrs. Primm is familiar with the needs of the diocese’s Hispanic community and is eager to serve.
Mrs. Primm says she sees the role of director of Hispanic Ministry as a facilitator for parishes and individuals, to help them answer the calling of discipleship.
“Working with parishes, supporting the work of the parishes, is something that we will continue doing,” she said.
The V Encuentro currently underway is a large undertaking for the Hispanic Ministry office, which is taking the lead in bringing Encuentro to parishes, missions, and schools in the diocese. The V Encuentro is focused on developing leadership and discipleship at the parish level.
According to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs and the national V Encuentro leadership team, Encuentro is “a process of ecclesial reflection and action that invites all Catholics in the United States to intense missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and identification of best ministerial practices in the spirit of the New Evangelization.”
As Mrs. Primm explains, the goals of the V Encuentro aim “to answer to the needs of the growing Hispanic population in our country, specifically in our diocese.”
She said she hopes the Hispanic Ministry office can help the Church answer the needs of its Hispanic community while at the same time help members of the community serve the Church with their unique talents and leadership skills.
Another area of focus for Mrs. Primm is strengthening marriages and supporting families. According to Mrs. Primm, helping marriages and families is helping promote a culture of life. Marriage preparation, natural family planning, and Marriage Encounter weekends help strengthen the family and help families pass the faith on to their children, she said.
Mrs. Primm credits Ms. Garza for promoting leadership and Bible literacy in the Hispanic community, and Mrs. Primm hopes to continue that legacy.
“She was always encouraging me and many people to get formation on the Church teachings as well as promote leadership. She helped me become a leader,” Mrs. Primm said. “She was really good at discovering the talents of people and making them flourish to serve in their parishes, to serve the community.”
Ms. Garza also pioneered the Catholic Bible School, sponsored by the Catholic Extension Society, the University of Dallas, and the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Knoxville. The four-year program encompassed in-depth study of the entire Bible and produced more than 50 graduates from across the diocese. These graduates now facilitate their own Bible studies.
In 2015 the Hispanic Bible Institute formed with the goal of giving continued assistance to Bible study groups in the diocese.
“I will continue the efforts to teach the Bible in our communities,” Mrs. Primm said.
Mrs. Primm said that working with the Hispanic community in the diocese is like a family. The years of friendships and connections she has developed will help her in her new role as director of Hispanic Ministry.
“I definitely think that it’s very important that we all collaborate and work as a family,” she said. “I feel a part of a family. I feel supported by them, and they know they can count on me.”