What is the National V Encuentro?
The V Encuentro is a four-year process of ecclesial reflection and action that invites all Catholics in the United States to intense missionary activity, consultation, leadership development, and identification of best ministerial practices in the spirit of the New Evangelization. The process has been proposed as a priority activity of the USCCB’s Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. The V Encuentro starts at the grass-roots level and calls for the development of resources and initiatives to better serve the fast-growing Hispanic population in dioceses, parishes, ecclesial movements, and other Catholic organizations and institutions in light of its theme: Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.
What is the Goal of the V Encuentro?
The main goal of the V Encuentro is to discern ways in which the Church in the United States 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. On this joyful journey, there is a preferential option for Hispanic/Latino youth.
The process of Encuentro has been the catalyst for developing ministries among Hispanics/Latinos during the past fifty years. Each of the previous Encuentros has been a watershed experience that has significantly changed the way in which the Church responds to the Hispanic/Latino presence, and the way in which Hispanics/Latinos respond as Church.
The Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latin@ Ministry (V Encuentro) includes a historic ecclesial gathering of 3,000 Hispanic/Latin@ leaders, that took place in September 2018 in Grapevine, Texas (See pictures from the event on Facebook). Accompanied by their bishops, these leaders were the representing delegates from dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities and Catholic organizations from across the country.
At the Heart of the V Encuentro Process
Inspired by both Jesus’ example evident in the gospels and by Pope Francis’ call to bring joy and hope to the periphery, the V Encuentro process reaches out to those who live in isolation, in sorrow, and in poverty, and to those who find themselves wounded along the way and need the merciful and tender embrace of Christ. From there, one will be able to discern the Church’s best pastoral and evangelizing response to the People of God.
( Excerpts adapted from the vencuentro.org)
The Archdiocese of San Antonio Actively Participates in the V Encuentro
All parishes in the Archdiocese were invited to conduct the V Encuentro at the parish level through 5 sessions of reflection and 3 missionary activities. The whole Archdiocesan community was later invited to the Archdiocesan V Encuentro celebration. Here is a brief summary of the Archdiocese’s participation in this national initiative:
• 101 parishes and 12 Catholic organizations in the Archdiocese sent teams to receive training in the V Encuentro process
• A total of 2,006 persons participated in the 5 sessions and consultation of the V Encuentro process, out of which 481 were youth or young adults.
• These 2,006 missionary disciples reached out to a total of 6,020 people in the peripheries through the V Encuentro three missionary actions. Out of the 6,020 persons reached, 1,470 were young adults, 3,640 adults, and 910 families.
• A total of 2,328 participated in the Diocesan Encuentro that took place on September 30, 2017, representing 108 parishes and other Catholic movements and organizations in the Archdiocese.
• 100 delegates represented the Archdiocese in the National V Encuentro in September 2018 in Grapevine, Texas.
Between the V Encuentro process convoked by our US Bishops in preparation towards the National V Encuentro and the Assembly 2018, we accompanied and received input from more than 7,000 faithful!
These gatherings revealed great enthusiasm and extraordinary consistency among the members of our family—lay people, religious, and clergy—about what must be done to become the local Church our people need in the light of the Gospel. The input gathered and summarized also revealed that many of the approaches that have been used in our parishes, missions, archdiocesan offices for decades are in need of renewal.
These voices, echoes of the peripheries, are faithfully articulated in the following Archdiocesan recommendations.
Through this important process, we were able to gather key statistical information for the Archdiocese.
Moving Forward in a Culture of Encuentro
These recommendations will be studied and promptly responded to by our Archdiocesan offices. In a sense, this document focuses on “what we must do?” (Acts 2:37). The proposed archdiocesan study will focus on “how” we will move forward building the Culture of Encounter. Creative and fresh approaches are needed to continue to ministering effectively to the People of God, the Catholic faithful and beyond.
Based on the Archdiocesan Offices responses, parishes will be invited to gather, reflect and draft their parish pastoral plan based on these recommendations to responding to their local contexts and needs.
Are you ready to join this Archdiocesan process?
Additional V Encuentro Resources
The V Encuentro continues to be a tool for Evangelization. The guide Creating a Culture of Encounter (developed by the National V Encuentro office) will be available soon. This bilingual resource is for parishes and groups interested in missionary action and evangelization. The guide uses the V Encuentro sessions, but it has been adapted for any parish group and faith community, and will be ready soon. Continue to check the V Encuentro website to access the guide as soon as it’s available.
Questions or Comments?
Director for Life, Justice, & Peace
Juan Carlos Rodriguez
Director for Strategic Planning & Priorities