The Fifth National Encuentro (V Encuentro) was a 2018 gathering of 3,000 Hispanic/Latino Ministry leaders/delegates from dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities and Catholic organizations from across the country. In response to changing times and a call to raise their voices, the main objective of the Encuentro is to discern the way in which Hispanics/Latinos respond as Church at the parish, regional, and national levels.

The Vision of the Encuentro is that this process will be taken back to parishes. This is another thing that OSV has been instrumental in.

Since 1972, the Encuentro has held numerous national and regional meetings around the country, giving Hispanics in America a way to come together, voice their needs and opinions, celebrate culture and develop strategies to inspire more young Hispanics to live their faith.

When the first Encuentro was held in 1972, the Catholic Church in America was very different than it is today. The Church was primarily white and English-speaking, and Hispanic Catholics were looking for ways to “come out of the shadows,” raise their voice and be counted and valued as baptized members. Today, 60% of Catholics under 18 in the U.S. are Hispanic. But with declining numbers among young people, forming leaders in the Church is critical to raising and influencing the next generation of Hispanics to become active in their faith.

More than a conference, Encuentro starts at the parish level, with leaders coming together to discuss goals of the Encuentro and the needs of the Church today. From there, representatives are selected to attend the Encuentro at the diocesan, regional and national level, with more than 3,000 delegates, 100 bishops and foreign guests in attendance, including the Pope’s representative to the United States. V National Encuentro was held in September 2018 just outside of Dallas, TX, with previous Encuentros in 1972, 1977, 1985 and 2000.

Led by ENAVE, a national team represented by 42 national and regional Catholic organizations (including OSV) that directly serve the Hispanic/Latino community, the organization is committed to advancing the call of the V Encuentro Nacional de Pastoral Hispana/Latina. OSVI is one of four key sponsors of Encuentro through a grant awarded as part of the institute’s mission to advance the Hispanic experience in America. The grant awarded $175,000 to be used for materials and resources for the event and educate the many Catholic leaders in attendance.

Following the three-part book series “7 Steps for Reflection” by Peter Ductrám, Catholic Hispanic leaders can follow a process for continuing dialogue ignited by the V Encuentro back in their parishes. The books examine the documents of Pope Francis and give readers a format to understand the messages, reflect on the themes of the Encuentro and keep the flame alive in their parish communities.

“The study series can be taken back into parishes to continue to reflect on the themes of the Encuentro using key papal documents that have come out recently,” said Dr. Joseph White, a national catechetical consultant for OSV who is a member of the V Encuentro delegation team.

Learn more at vencuentro.org.

Photos by James Ramos/Texas Catholic Herald


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