The Juan Diego Institute of Evangelization and Faith Formation was founded in 2016 under the leadership of Bishop Oscar Cantu and Grace Cassetta, Diocesan Director of Evangelization and Formation. Ms. Cassetta led a committee of theologians, clergy, and lay ministers to form the inaugural program, the Tier I Introductory Theology Program. The Tier I program was a success with over 60 people completing the program in the first year.
When Bishop Oscar Cantu, who holds a Doctorate in Sacred Theology, first introduced the idea of a institute of formation for the diocese, he envisioned a stand-alone organization when can provide comprehensive theology and pastoral ministry courses to the people of the Diocese of Las Cruces in both English and Spanish. Using the Tepeyac Insitute in El Paso as well as the Archdiocese of Galvaston-Houston’s Formation Toward Christian Ministry as a guide, the Bishop appointed Fr. Rogelio Martinez and Julia Fracker as the directors of the San Juan Diego Institute of Evangelization and Faith Formation with the objective of actualizing his vision.
On December 9, 2017, Bishop Oscar Cantu officially launched the next evolution of the San Juan Diego Institute. Fr. Martinez and Ms. Fracker are working towards forming partnerships with universities in order to offer a fuller compliment of course offerings which will meet the diverse needs of the people of God in the Diocese of Las Cruces. For the remainder of 2017 and the first few months in 2018, the Institute will be a continual state of evolution as it is moves towards actualizing the vision for a fully bilingual and intercultural, institute of formation which will serve all the people in the Diocese of Las Cruces, no matter their background, positions, education levels, or location.