Why the Encuentro is important Print
Written by Mary C. Uhler   
Thursday, Sep. 13, 2018 -- 12:00 AM

The Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (V Encuentro) is a historic ecclesial gathering of 3,000 Hispanic/Latino ministry leaders/delegates from dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities, and Catholic organizations across the country.

The national Encuentro is the culmination of a two-year process of missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and pastoral discernment in parishes, dioceses, and episcopal regions. The main objective is to discern the ways in which the Church in the United States responds to the Hispanic/Latino presence, and to strengthen the way in which Hispanics/Latinos respond as a Church.

Why is all this important? There are approximately 30.4 million people in the United States who self-identify their religion as Catholic and their ethnicity as Hispanic or Latino. Some 16.4 million are native-born (54 percent) and 14.0 million are foreign-born (46 percent).

Obviously, Hispanic/Latino Catholics are a large and important part of our Church. They should not be on the periphery of the Church but a key part of it in the future.

Hopefully, the Encuentro process will help everyone in the Church discern pastoral practices and priorities to impact the quality of ministry among Hispanic/Latino Catholics.

Let’s pray for the success of the national Encuentro. The Catholic Herald will share stories from the delegates from the Diocese of Madison attending the Encuentro so that all of us will be aware of what’s happening with our Hispanic/Latino brothers and sisters.