Up Front and Personal

V Encuentro Is Underway In Diocese and Country

By Cruz-Teresa Rosero

Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, from San Antonio, Texas, and Auxiliary Bishop Nelson Perez, of Rockville Centre, L.I., have written an introductory letter to the V Encuentro Guide: “This is an initiative of the Bishops of the United States which call all the Catholic leaders to listen to the needs, challenges and aspirations that the growing Hispanic-Latino population faces. It will gather hundreds of thousands of missionary disciples at the parish, diocesan, regional and national level. As Bishops, we are eager to hear the ideas and recommendations that will emerge from the process.”

The process in our diocese is underway. The Diocesan Leader Team, under the direction of Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros, and the approval and blessing of Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, has been training leaders from parishes as facilitators. They receive a Guide Manual with the theme, “V Encuentro. Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.” They are given an introduction to the history of the Encuentros and are trained in the vision, objectives, methodology and spirituality of the V Encuentro, so they can go back to their parishes to hold their own Encuentros.

The training consists of a day or two of consultation based on five topics which participants reflect upon in groups with guided questions and answers. Participants are given a Missionary Journal to use as they comply with the next step, which is to go out and interview people who are distant from Church. Through this consultation, people on the peripheries, especially the young, are invited to express their voices, hopes and dreams.

The answers to the reflections and interviews will be compiled in a final national document which will be presented to the bishops. It will enlighten and challenge the ministry among and to Hispanics, as they have the previous Encuentros which have changed the ways the Church responds to the Hispanic presence and the ways Hispanics respond to the Church.

The V Encuentro promises another such experience. Its main goal is to discern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the growing Hispanic/Latino presence, and to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/Latinos respond to the call to New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the entire Church.

The process of reflection, evangelization and consultation is inspired by the five steps described by Pope Francis to promote a culture of Encounter: 1) Taking the first step; 2) Getting involved; 3) Accompanying; 4) Giving fruit of new life; and 5) Celebrating.

These steps are centered and nurtured on the spirituality and methodology that Jesus teaches on the biblical passage of the disciples on their way to Emmaus (Luke 24).

In April 2018 there will be a diocesan Encuentro; and in September 2018, a national one in Texas. Let’s hope these Encuentros open our hearts and minds to become true missionary disciples, witnesses of God’s Love in the land to which He has brought us.