V Encuentro held in Madison Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Mar. 22, 2018 -- 12:00 AM
v encuentro
Parish delegates discuss issues for Hispanic and Latino Catholics during a session at the Diocese of Madison V Encuentro, held at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison on March 11. To view or purchase photos, go to (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- “Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love” was the theme of the V Encuentro (“Fifth Encounter”) for the Diocese of Madison held on March 11 at St. Maria Goretti Church in Madison.

Since 1972, the Catholic bishops in the United States have held an Encuentro every five to eight years to give Hispanic/Latino Catholics an opportunity to express their needs, aspirations, and contributions to the Church.

The main goal is to discern ways in which the Church in the U.S. can better respond to the Hispanic/Latino presence, and to strengthen the ways in which Hispanics/ Latinos respond to the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the entire Church.

The Encuentro process in the Diocese of Madison began last year with training and was followed by sessions at 12 parishes around the diocese.

The March 11 event was the diocesan Encuentro in which delegates from those parishes gathered in prayer and with one goal: to evaluate and determine diocesan priorities and recommendations, and regional strategies for working among dioceses.

‘Culmination of a process’

Edgar Martinez, chair for the diocesan Encuentro, and Msgr. James Bartylla, vicar general for the diocese, welcomed the more than 120 parish representatives and guests.

With Martinez translating for him, Monsignor Bartylla called the day, “the culmination of a process which all of you were involved in with your parishes, and so what we do here today is very connected and the result of all of your hard work in various parishes.”

Over the past several months, as the parishes held their own Encuentro events, their discussion points and reports were combined into a diocesan report that was discussed at the diocesan event.

There were nearly a dozen table groups at the event, which held their own discussions over the course of the day.

During discussion sessions, parish delegates at the tables shared successful practices at their parishes from their communities.

Later, delegates were asked to come up with their top diocesan recommendations in various pastoral areas.

As the day went on, parish delegates were asked to complete Rule of Thumb, or “PULGAR” (Spanish for “thumb”) ratings, in regards to the recommendations and how well they meet the criteria for a worthwhile and workable investment of pastoral time, talent, and treasure.

Some of the recommendations that were discussed were having a diocesan Hispanic ministry office, having more Spanish-speaking priests in the diocese, and greater resources for adult and youth faith formation.

The recommendations and discussion will be further presented in a report at the Region VII Encuentro, to be held June 8 to June 10, in Indianapolis.

Delegates from Wisconsin, along with Illinois and Indiana, will be at the regional event.

The results of the regional Encuentro will be taken to the V National Encuentro event September 20 to 23 in Grapevine, Texas.

More than 3,000 delegates from arch/dioceses and other Catholic organizations are expected to attend.

Celebrating Mass

The Encuentro day came to a close with a Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Alberto Rojas from the Archdiocese of Chicago.

Bishop Robert C. Morlino of Madison was in choir and priests from the diocese, many from parishes represented at the Encuentro, concelebrated the Mass.

The Spanish Choir from St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Madison provided the music.

Deacon Ignacio Badillo from the Diocese of Rockford read the Gospel.

The readings and prayers at Mass were said in Spanish.

During his homily, Bishop Rojas reflected on the importance of needing more priests to minister to Hispanic people in the United States.

In both Spanish and English, he told everyone at Mass, especially parents, “Priests don’t come from the sky, they come from you,” encouraging that vocations to the priesthood start at home.

Toward the end of the Mass, Bishop Morlino spoke to everyone in attendance, thanking them for being there, especially Bishop Rojas, calling his presence, “a delight to all of us”.

“I listened carefully to your recommendations,” said Bishop Morlino and added, “We will look for some funding in a new way so that there might be an office of Hispanic ministry for the diocese,” which was met with energetic applause.

The bishop added that spaces and classrooms for Hispanic faith formation would be included in new cathedral plans in the future.

Like Bishop Rojas, he called on families to “send forth to us great young men” to the priesthood.

To learn more about the V Encuentro, go to

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