Gary Riebe-Estrella, SVD
M.A., DePaul University; S.T.D., Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca
Gary Riebe-Estrella treats traditional theological themes and questions of theological methods from within the experience of the U.S. Latino community. His research includes the role of Latino Catholics as church in the U.S., the world of religious imagination in Mexican popular religion, issues in multiculturalism, and culturally responsible theological formation for Latino pastoral agents. He is co-editor, with Timothy Matovina, of Horizons of the Sacred: Mexican Traditions in U.S. Catholicism.
Gary has a wide breadth of experience out of which these interests have grown. In the mid-1970's he founded a college level house of formation in East Los Angeles for Mexican-American seminarians, called Casa Guadalupe. In the seven years he was there, Gary became involved in grass-roots community organizing, did chaplaincy in Spanish at a mental hospital and taught Chicano Studies at Cal State L.A. From East L.A. he moved to Tucson, Arizona, to head up the diocese’s efforts in education and in pastoral planning. In the meantime he served on his provincial council and as a consultant to a number of groups trying to adapt seminary to the cultural context of Latinos. He served for two years on the staff of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops as Director of Project 13 on Hispanic Vocations and Formation and has been a long-time member of the Formation Committee of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men.
After earning an S.T.D. in Practical Theology from the Pontifical University of Salamanca in Spain, Gary became a member of the faculty of CTU in the department of cross-cultural ministries. After four years of teaching, Gary became Vice President and Academic Dean and served in that capacity for thirteen years, stepping down in July 2009. That same year, Gary was elected for the second time to be president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. In the meantime, Gary has continued to serve his religious congregation, the Divine Word Missionaries, as Zonal Coordinator for North, Central, and South America.
In 2008 Gary received the Emily Penet Award for outstanding contributions to formation for religious life from the Religious Formation Conference and in 2009 the Angelina Márquez Award from the Archdiocese of Chicago for lifetime contributions to Hispanic Ministry.