From staff reports
Ten delegates from the Diocese of Trenton will be joining the more than 3,000 Hispanic Catholic leaders expected to gather for the V National Encuentro Sept. 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas.
The delegates – who will represent dioceses, ecclesial movements, schools, universities and Catholic organizations from across the country – are among those who have been engaged in their own communities in a multiyear process in which they were invited to identify best practices in Hispanic Catholic ministry, areas that still need improvement and guidelines for the future.
Over the past few years, Hispanic Catholic ministry, outreach, intercultural and leadership development, immigration and more as related to the New Evangelization has been discussed and documents created on the diocesan and regional levels. During the Texas gathering, those documents will be discussed at the national level in order to help outline priorities that will help shape Hispanic Catholic ministry, and the U.S. Catholic Church as a whole, for years to come in the United States.
Delegate Sandra Lopez, diocesan coordinator of Hispanic Ministry Initiatives, said that while she’s excited to meet delegates from around the country, she is most looking forward to “bringing the new documents back to individuals in our Diocese … who are all unique and different.”
In addition to Lopez, a member of St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral, Trenton, others from the Diocese of Trenton attending are: Raul Calvimontes of St. Paul Parish, Princeton; Diane Cardona of St. Mary of the Assumption Cathedral; Juliana Cano of Our Lady of Fatima Parish, Keyport; Maria De los Santos of Mother of Mercy Parish, Asbury Park; Father Carlos Florez, parochial vicar in St. Barnabas Parish, Bayville; Matthew Greeley of St. Ann Parish, Lawrenceville, who is also associate director for the diocesan Office of Communications; Jose Ludizaca of Our Lady of the Angels Parish, Trenton; Adela Cruz Madrigal of St. Anthony Claret Parish, Lakewood, and Walter Quiñonez Torres of St. Joseph Parish, Trenton.
The gathering will be a high point in a process that began in 2013, when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops explored the idea of the V Encuentro. Since 1972, there have been four national Encuentro meetings, which served as a response to the growing Hispanic Catholic communities in the United States. The actual process of the V Encuentro began in 2016.
On April 28, the Diocese of Trenton played host to the V Encuentro meeting for Region III, which comprises the Catholic dioceses in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. More than 350 people were in attendance.
When it comes to Hispanic Catholic Ministry, the USCCB has addressed the following areas as top priorities: Evangelization and Mission, Faith Formation and Catechesis, Family Ministry, Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministries, Immigration, Intercultural Competencies, Justice and Peace, Leadership Development and Ministry Formation, Liturgy and Spirituality and Vocations.
While much discussion has already taken place, the national meeting only marks the halfway point in the V Encuentro process. The delegates who are attending in Texas will be discussing each topic and passing on the recommendations about Hispanic Ministry from the USCCB to their respective regions, dioceses and parishes.
Information from Catholic News Service contributed to this report.