Archbishop José H. Gomez, of Los Angeles, and Vice-President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB); Bishop Nelson J. Pérez, of Cleveland, chairman of the Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church, and Bishop Arturo Cepeda, of Detroit, chairman of the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs will lead a delegation that will visit the Holy See, September 13-18, to present to Pope Francis the Proceedings and Conclusions of the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry.
Delegates accompanying the Bishops include USCCB staff, members of the National V Encuentro Team and a cross-section of V Encuentro delegates representing a diversity of ages, geographical areas, ministries and states in life. The delegation is scheduled to meet with the leadership and staff of various Vatican offices, including the Pontifical Council for Culture, the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, the Dicastery for Laity, Family, and Life; the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization, and the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. The visit will conclude with an audience and encounter with the Holy Father.
“This visit to the Holy See provides an important opportunity to follow up with Vatican offices on what we have seen and heard, what we learned so far, and the next steps in the V Encuentro process. We bring with us the voices and wisdom of thousands of Hispanic Catholics and other leaders who have accompanied us in this process,” said Bishop Pérez. “Meeting with the Holy Father and handing over a copy of the Proceedings and Conclusions will be a very special moment. Pope Francis and Vatican officials have been very supportive of the V Encuentro process and have followed its developments closely. They have accompanied us with their presence, messages, and prayers. We are extremely grateful and pleased to have this opportunity to offer them a report on the V Encuentro.”
The USCCB’s Administrative Committee authorized the publication of the Proceedings and Conclusions of the V National Encuentro of Hispanic Latino Ministry during its September meeting. The resource will be available for sale at the USCCB store in October; other related tools and resources will be posted soon thereafter on the V Encuentro website.
The document is expected to facilitate collaboration and coordination on Hispanic Ministry initiatives between the Bishops’ Conference and dioceses across the country. Numerous initiatives are emerging at the local, regional, and national level as a direct result of the V Encuentro.
For the last two and a half years, the Catholic Church in the United States has taken Pope Francis’ call to embrace an experience what it means to evangelize, reaching out in a special way to those in the peripheries (Evangelii Gaudium, 20-24), specifically through the V National Encuentro. The Proceeding and Conclusions, meant to be a practical resource for utilization by dioceses, captures the five steps of the V Encuentro process.
The Proceedings and Conclusions provide a summary of challenges and opportunities, hopes and dreams, gifts and talents, insights, recommendations, strategies, and successful practices for the pastoral care and accompaniment of the Hispanic/Latinos in the United States. Dioceses around the country have already begun a process of incorporating V Encuentro findings to their existing pastoral plans or are in the process of developing new ones.