It seems odd at first glance that the Diocese of Monterey qualifies as a mission diocese. After all, fabulous Carmel and Pebble Beach lie on the Monterey Peninsula. However, 95 percent of the diocese’s 21,916 square miles is open farmland, sprawling for six hours along the interstate. Streams of migrant laborers, often crammed into substandard housing, harvest fruits and vegetables nearly year-round. Hispanics make up over half the Catholic population and form the majority in 24 parishes. For many years, the diocese has sponsored a School of Ministries to train Hispanic laymen and laywomen in leadership skills, Scripture, the Church’s social teaching, morality, and even parenting. The Migrant Ministry program sends dozens of trained volunteers, modern-day missionaries, into 28 migrant camps to work with Catholics who otherwise would have little contact with the Church. It is 45 minutes by car from Carmel to the Salinas Valley, but that journey leads from a world of wealth and privilege to a world of poverty and looming despair.
The Diocese of Monterey has:
- 194,600 Catholics (20 percent of total population)
- 53 parishes and missions (12 without resident pastor)
- 51 active priests
P.O. Box 2048
Monterey, CA 93942