Two-year program engages Hispanic community
At the request of the Catholic Bishops of the United States, Hispanic parishes in every diocese are now engaged in the V Encuentro (Encounter) to develop missionary activity, consultation, leadership and pastoral discernment.
Here in the Diocese of Cleveland, Misael Mayorga, director of Hispanic ministry, says the V Encuentro is an effort “To renew Hispanic ministry because at this moment in the United States there is a need to do more.” He added, “Better response is needed for Hispanics in the United States . . . they need better formation to understand the richness of Catholic life — sacramental life. Many have been left without a good understanding of the faith.” Mayorga also noted, “There is a real need for vocations (priests and religious) within the Hispanic community.”
During Eastertime, seven parishes will celebrate completion of the first of five phases of the V Encuentro program. This first phase is entitled “Called to a Loving Encounter with Jesus in the Church.” Scheduled each week in Lent, each parish has had facilitators to conduct discussion sessions. Parishioners and members of the community were invited to these missions and the numbers grew weekly. Besides evangelization promoted in each session, the discussions centered on why people do not come to church, why they don’t feel they have received what they need in the Catholic parish and then ultimately, what needs to be done about these issues. At the end of each session participants are invited to go out on mission to their own communities and neighborhoods; to be with people on the peripheries (those who have lost contact with the Church) and to listen to them.
The Eastertime celebration culminates the initial mission as the leaders and facilitators at each parish compose a report. The seven parishes will celebrate at the diocesan V Encuentro on Sept. 16 at Sagrada Familia Parish in Cleveland. Their combined reports will be sent to the regional level and eventually to a national V Encuentro in September 2018, where a blueprint for engaging those who have left the Church or simply are not participating in the faith will be formulated in hopes of getting many reacquainted with the traditions and beauty of the Catholic faith.
The seven parishes participating in the V Encuentro in the Diocese of Cleveland are Sagrada Familia, St. Michael and Our Lady of Lourdes, all in Cleveland; St. Mary in Painesville; Sacred Heart Chapel in Lorain; St. Bernard in Akron and St. Mary in Wooster. A potential eighth participating parish is St. Matthew in Akron.
Anyone interested in learning more about V Encuentro can contact Mayorga at the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland Hispanic ministry office, 216-696-6525, Ext. 4300, or by email at email@example.com.