Every week since March, an army of volunteers and Father Evelio Menjivar, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in the Washington suburb of Landover Hills, Maryland, gather in the parish’s parking lot to give away boxes of food to local families in need.
Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese of Brooklyn and across the country would normally be preparing for the Encuentro, an opportunity to discuss and address how the Church responds to the Hispanic presence and the ways Hispanics respond to the Church in kind.
The U.S. bishops, aware of the growing numbers of Catholics in the country who are of Hispanic origin, voted to write a new pastoral plan for Latino Catholics that would be produced sometime between 2021 and 2024.
Two prelates most affected are those who today lead dioceses where, over a decade ago, their predecessors settled with victims of former Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, and who now insist they were never informed.
The Fifth National Encuentro, or V Encuentro, held in Grapevine, Texas, Sept. 20-23, gathered more than 3,200 Hispanic Catholic leaders and about 125 bishops from across the country.
Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich, whose archdiocese is home to one of the largest Hispanic communities in the United States, said Americans will look back in history to the present and “rejoice” for the Hispanic influence.
In the 18 years since the last Encuentro the Hispanic Catholic community in the U.S. has gone through remarkable changes. For starters, 60 percent of Hispanic Catholics today were born in the U.S. and English has become the first language of a much larger portion of the Latino community.
As the leader of Baltimore’s Catholics, Archbishop Lori knows firsthand the way in which the issue of race has divided Catholics in his diocese. At this week’s V Encuentro, he spoke with The Tablet about how the legacy of MLK can help overcome segregation in the U.S. Church.
Thousands of clerics and lay leaders are packing a Texas convention center at the Fifth National Encuentro this weekend to strengthen Hispanic ministry in the U.S. – and they’re turning to the next generation to guide them.
Scenes from the first day of the Fifth National Encuentro… The Tablet team was in place as Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller of San Antonio, Texas, lead the opening prayer, and Editor Jorge I. Dominguez-Lopez had a chance to interview Sister Norma Pimentel.