Nestor Medina, a professor of religious ethics and culture at Emmanuel College at Victoria University in the University of Toronto, who became an honorary member of ACHTUS during this year's colloquium, presented a paper on the Doctrine of Discovery, the theme of the first of four sessions.
ACHTUS isn't meant to be an insular space for Hispanic Catholic scholars of religion and theology.
Other ACHTUS members also pointed to the organization's broader role.
Examining how to approach universal truths without losing the particularity of specific cultures is "an interesting challenge, and I think ACHTUS is in a unique place as both Hispanic and Catholic to help address that challenge, although we can't do it alone," he said.
Ospino, who is planning next year's colloquium with the focus of practical/pastoral theology, wants to increase participation among the approximately 200 ACHTUS members, but also to bring in more Catholics of all ethnicities, collaborate with other groups, and "get the word out" about their work.
ACHTUS and the Black Catholic Theological Symposium held a joint colloquium in 2017.
Ospino said he would also like to partner with the Catholic Theological Society of America and the College Theology Society, which typically receive more attention than ACHTUS, as well as with international organizations and the U.S.
While no Hispanic bishops attended the 2019 colloquium, ACHTUS has a good track record of reaching out to them, and they attend as their schedules permit, Ospino told NCR.
The recipient of ACHTUS's 2019 Virgilio Elizondo Award, Edgard Beltran, participated in the historic 1968 conference of Latin American bishops at Medellin, Colombia, and helped start the first nationwide encuentros for Hispanic Catholics.
ACHTUS has already begun to expand its reach through partnerships with other organizations, De Anda said, noting conversations with the Hope Border Institute and formal partnerships with the Louisville Institute, the Hispanic Theological Initiative and the Forum for Theological Exploration; all reached out to ACHTUS, she said.
The Forum for Theological Exploration this year began funding an ACHTUS mentoring program where academics can accompany prospective doctoral students as they discern and build the skills needed for successful applications.
An affiliate member of ACHTUS, Avila Cosnahan has been involved since she was studying for her master's in pastoral theology more than five years ago.