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Diocesan delegates attend Fifth National Encuentro in Texas

V Encuentro, a four-year process of evangelization, mission and consultation, aids the Church in embracing gifts of Hispanic Catholics.
Over 2,000 Hispanic/Latino ministry leaders/delegates from dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities and Catholic organizations across the country gathered Sept. 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas for the Fifth National Encuentro.
The National Encuentro is the culmination of planning and work which began in dioceses nationwide two years ago.
Delegates to the National Encuentro, representing more than 165 dioceses, were selected from among nearly 250,000 people nationwide who've participated in the local process over the past year. Over 100 bishops are expected to lead diocesan delegations.  

About our National Encuentro delegates

Bishop Walkowiak and seven other delegates represented our diocese at the national gathering in September. They are: 
  • Hilda Alcahuter - St. Mary's Church of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Muskegon
  • Teresa Cruz - St. Joseph the Worker Parish, Wyoming
  • Elizabeth Lerchern - St. Gregory Parish, Hart
  • Javier Orozco - Shrine of St. Francis and Our Lady of Guadalupe, Grand Rapids
  • Rosa Yañez - Ss. Peter & Paul Parish, Ionia
  • Sister Trinidad Duque, MC and Juan Carlos Farias-Gonzalez of the diocesan office of Hispanic Ministry.
Father Steve Dudek, Father René Constanza, CSP, and Mariza Mandujano from our diocese also were invited to attend the event in other capacities. Please pray for the Encuentro process and for all participants from our diocese and around the nation. 

Watch Video

Important keynote addresses, plenary sessions and liturgies were available to view online and some were broadcast live on EWTN. Visit the V Encuentro website to view videos. 

What happens next?

In 2019, the V Encuentro Concluding Document will be produced and distributed. Reporting of the proceedings and final articulation of the conclusions which came out of the V National Encuentro will be shared at the regional, diocesan, and parish levels for pastoral planning purposes and implementation. The timelines of the V Encuentro process and the Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry in our diocese are similar. Results of the V Encuentro will help inform the Pastoral Plan and vice versa.

About the Encuentro process

Convened by the Bishops of the United States, the first Encuentro was held in 1972. The V Encuentro or Fifth Encuentro is a four-year process of evangelization, mission and consultation under the theme Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love inspired by Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel). The V Encuentro calls all Catholic leaders to listen with profound attention to the needs, challenges and aspirations that the growing Hispanic/Latino population face in daily life. It especially prepares us as a Church to better recognize, embrace and promote the many gifts and talents that the Hispanic community shares in the life and mission of the Church, and in society.
The V Encuentro process has gathered hundreds of thousands of missionary disciples in Encuentros at the parish, diocesan, and regional levels.
At the heart of the V Encuentro process is an experience of reflection, evangelization, and
consultation guided by five themes inspired by Pope Francis’ call to foster a culture of encounter:
  1. Called to a loving encounter with Jesus
  2. With words and actions: Do it!
  3. Walking together with Jesus
  4. Bearing fruits of new life
  5. Celebrating the joy of being missionary disciples 
As the Encuentro process moves from the parish to diocesan level, then from the regional to the national level, working documents have been developed, summarized and passed along. The ideas and recommendations that emerge from this process ultimately will be shared with the U.S. Bishops in a national working document. The concluding document and post-V Encuentro gatherings are scheduled to take place in 2019. 

About the Regional Encuentro

The Encuentro for Region VI (13 dioceses in Michigan and Ohio) took place at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in the Archdiocese of Detroit on Saturday, June 2nd and Sunday, June 3rd. It involved a total of 350 delegates from the 11 of the 13 Region VI dioceses.
Representation from the Grand Rapids Diocese included two delegates from each of the 11 parishes with Hispanic ministry for a total of 36 delegates including special guests. Seven of the 36 delegates were young adults whose involvement in the process has been identified as a key priority. This group joined with delegates from the other Region VI dioceses to analyze and discern the priorities that have arisen from the Encuentro process so far. The goal of the regional Encuentro is to develop a document that represents Region VI to be presented at the National Encuentro in September. 

About the Diocesan Encuentro

On Saturday, October 21, 2017 parish leaders who've been involved in the V Encuentro process in our diocese gathered with Bishop David Walkowiak and members of the Hispanic Ministry office at Cathedral Square for the diocesan Encuentro. Please pray for this process in our diocese and continue to visit our website and Facebook for updates.
The process of the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (V Encuentro), with the theme Missionary Disciples: Witnesses to God’s Love, began in 2014 with preliminary planning and has been underway for many months in dioceses throughout the United States including in Grand Rapids.
To learn more about your parish's involvement in the Encuentro process, contact your parish office and ask about who your parish leaders are.