Many of you will might wonder what the Fifth Encounter (Encuentro in Spanish) is and why it is so important for our Catholic Church in the United States?
First, the V Encuentro is a priority activity in the strategic plan of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of the United States.
Second, it is a process of evangelization, communion and consultation that generates information for pastoral planning that responds more creatively to the Hispanic presence in the Church and promotes the ecclesial integration of all communities.
Above all, it connects the local Hispanic community with a national initiative. In addition to generating and training new pastoral agents as missionary disciples, it also revitalizes the faith of parishioners by inviting them to missionary activity, it invites us to be a "Church that go forth", in the spirit of our Pope, Francis. By increasing participation in the liturgical and ministerial life, it also increases the co-responsibility of parishioners.
These are some important dates to take into account in this process of the V Encuentro in our diocese:
- The Diocesan Encounter, October 7 in (Yuma); October 28 in (Tucson), 2017
- Regional Encounter February 23-25, 2018 (Phoenix)
- National Encounter September 20-23 2018 (Texas)
At this point in the process we are training facilitators to have five sessions of reflection and missionary action culminating in a parish encounter. Each parish, community or group chooses the best time to implement the process during Lent or Easter 2017.
Each parish conducting the process participates in the one-day diocesan Encounter to be held on October 7, 2017 in Yuma and October 14, 2017 in Tucson. It is coordinated by a parish team assigned by the pastor and trained by the diocesan team for the V Encounter. It involves small groups of 7 to 12 people. They can be gathered in homes or at parish facilities and the communities decide if they need to meet in larger groups. United States and the National Accompaniment Team of the Fifth Encounter (ENAVE) and distributed by the dioceses at no cost to the parish or groups. The themes of the sessions are inspired by Pope Francis in “The Joy of the Gospel n. 24”.
These are the themes for each session:
- Called to a Loving Encounter with Jesus in the Church.
- With Words and Actions” Do It!
- Walking Together with Jesus
- Bearing Fruits of New Life
- Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples
The overall goal of the Fifth Meeting is to discern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to the presence of Hispanics/Latinos and empower Hispanics/Latinos to respond as missionary disciples to the call to the New Evangelization, Serving the Church as a whole.