Archbishop José H.rnGomez joined bishops from throughout California, Nevada and Hawaii to leadrndelegations of Catholic leaders for the regional V (Fifth) Encuentro gatheringrnat the Visalia Convention Center April 27-29.
The regional V Encuentro convened arnhistoric ecclesial gathering of more than a 1,000 Hispanic Ministryrnleaders/delegates from dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities andrnCatholic organizations from the three states. The selected delegatesrnrepresenting 14 dioceses have participated in the local process over the pastrncouple of years.
The regional gathering was part ofrnthe national V Encuentro, a four-year process of evangelization, mission andrnconsultation under the theme Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God's Love.rnThis year’s theme was inspired by Pope Francis' Apostolic Exhortation EvangeliirnGaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). The process has been the catalyst forrndeveloping ministries in the Church throughout the nation during the past fiftyrnyears.
The goal of the V Encuentro is torndiscern ways in which the Church in the United States can better respond to thernLatino Catholic community, strengthen the ways in which the local Churchrnresponds to the needs of all the faithful, and empower the faithful to bernleaders in their communities as missionary disciples. The regional V Encuentro process was one ofrnlistening and discerning the voices from all the diocesan processes of VrnEncuentro reflections.
Throughout 2017, the local chaptersrnof V Encuentro developed consultation and evangelization workshops with parishrnleaders throughout their respective dioceses to reflect on the process andrndiscern ways of becoming missionary disciples to strengthen the entire Churchrnby serving all its members, especially the underserved.
“The vision of V Encuentro is tornbecome more aware of God’s love in our lives and to share it with others,rnespecially those most in need,” said Ernesto Vega, Communications Chair for thernRegion XI V Encuentro Gathering.
During diocesan V Encuentrorngatherings participants shared testimonials of healing, conversion andrnincorporation to the Church based on the opportunities they have had during thernV Encuentro trainings to serve people in need.
“The V Encuentro is a wake-up callrnfor all Catholics, but especially our Hispanic/Latino communities to becomernagents of renewal for Church and society,” said Jesuit Father Allan FigueroarnDeck, a theologian from Loyola Marymount University who spoke at V EncuentrornDiocesan Gathering in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and also to delegates atrnthe regional gathering. “For fifty years, the Encuentro processes haverncontributed a strong pastoral and social justice agenda to the Church in thernUnited States, one that resonates perfectly with Pope Francis’ call forrnpastoral conversion and missionary discipleship.”
The Encuentros are supported by thernUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Dating back to 1972, the firstrnEncuentro was thought as a place where lay leaders could express their needs,rnaspirations and contributions to the Catholic Church. The last national IVrnEncuentro was held in 2000 in Los Angeles.
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