The Official Newspaper of the Diocese of Little Rock

Melissa Rangel: On a national stage

27-year-old helps young people find their faith

Published: August 29, 2021   
Dwain Hebda
Melissa Rangel, a parishioner of St. Jude Church in Jacksonville, stands Aug. 9 at the Arkansas Department of Corrections office in North Little Rock, where she works in administration. She is also the national coordinator for Encuentros de Promocion Juvenil, a movement for Hispanic young adults modeled on Cursillo.

Melissa Rangel has always been involved with the workings of her home parish, first at St. Anne Church in Berryville and now at St. Jude Church in Jacksonville. In her latest endeavor, the 27-year-old works to help other young people across the country find their own place in their faith and in their parishes.  

Rangel is the national coordinator for Encuentros de Promoción Juvenil (EPJ) — Encounters of Youth Promotion — a role to which she was elected in 2019, following a year as the diocesan coordinator. Modeled after Cursillo and presented in Spanish, the movement was developed to teach Hispanic young adults to evangelize their peers and take on leadership roles in Christian groups within their parish communities.  

“Basically, our mission is not only to get to know who we are, but also get to know others and God himself,” Rangel said. 

Rangel began a life of service at St. Anne Church, where she served as a lector and altar server. She attended an EPJ event in 2017 and was so taken with the power of the message that she immediately knew she wanted to be involved in a deeper way.  

Her work not only leads more young people to evangelize their peers, but has had a profound effect on her own spiritual life. 

“I’ve learned to trust completely in the work of God,” said Rangel, who works in administration for the Arkansas Department of Corrections. “He is the one that guides me through every step of the way. I move on through my life trusting in the good Lord.”

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