This is a historic moment for Hispanic Catholics.
They are a growing force in our Church – 38 percent of Catholics in the country are Hispanic – not to mention in the Diocese of San Diego, where they are 63 percent. What’s more, 55 percent of all Catholics in the country under age 30, the so-called Millennial Generation, being Hispanic.
A process began in January called the V National Encuentro for Hispanic/Latino Ministry in San Diego and across the country. “Encuentro” means “encounter” in Spanish. The V Encuentro is a five-session, bilingual process of reflection, consultation and action among Hispanic faithful in parishes, movements and other Catholic organizations. The information gleaned is later shared, discussed and fine-tuned in Encuentros at diocesan, regional and national levels.
The V Encuentro is a priority initiative of the U.S. Catholic Church.
All Hispanic Catholics are invited to participate, particularly young people and those who live on the peripheries. They can be part of parishes, lay movements and Catholic organizations and institutions. The Hispanic Catholic community is very diverse in the United States and it’s crucial to hear from as many of its members as possible.
The main goal of the V Encuentro is to discern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the Hispanic presence, and to strengthen the ways in which Hispanic Catholics can respond as missionary disciples serving the entire Church.
January to June 2017: The Encuentro process is carried out at the community level in Spanish and English though five sessions of reflection, consultation and action. Each parish, movement or organization chooses the best time to implement this process. The sessions may be held at the parish, in private homes or other convenient locations. The leaders carrying out these sessions have received training from a diocesan team and use extensive resources provided by the Church.
July to December 2017: The San Diego Diocese, like the other dioceses across the country, will hold a diocesan Encuentro. Locally, it’s scheduled for Oct. 21 at the University of San Diego, where leaders from the parish Encuentros will come together. (It is not open to the public.)
2018: Representatives from each diocese meet in regional Encuentros. The findings of these gatherings will be discussed and fine-tuned at a national Encuentro in September in Texas.
2019: The nation’s bishops analyze the information gathered in all the sessions at the parish, diocese, regional and national level. They develop initiatives and resources to strengthen all Hispanic Catholics and the Church itself.
The national Church has prepared many practical resources in English and Spanish to inform about the V Encuentro and to carry out the process. These include videos, journals, manuals, charts, fact sheets, pamphlets and PowerPoint presentations.
Visit vencuentro.org for more information.