Last week, the regional V (Fifth) Encuentro in Visalia, California, brought together bishops and about 1,300 Hispanic ministry delegates from California, Hawaii, and Nevada for the historic gathering.
The vision behind Encuentro is to discern ways in which the Church can better respond to the Latino Catholic community and strengthen responses to the needs of all the faithful. Discussions focused on ten different areas including such topics as families, supporting young people, working with immigrants and vocations.
The meeting was a culmination of local parish meetings and workshops throughout 2017 and will be followed by the national V Encuentro later this year in San Antonio, Texas.
In addition to the study sessions, Mass was celebrated by Bishop Armando Ochoa, from the host diocese of Fresno, and Archbishops José Gomez (Los Angeles) and Salvatore Cordileone (San Francisco).
In his closing remarks, Archbishop Gomez encouraged participants: “We need to be “microphones” of God! We speak to others about God! We need to proclaim him, not only by what we say, but by how we live and how we act,” he said.
Originally commissioned in 1972, Enuentro was established as a place where leaders could express their needs, aspirations and contributions to the Catholic Church. The process has cultivated a strong pastoral and social justice agenda to the Church in the U.S. over the last 50 years.