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Our Diocese with Area Dioceses Move Ahead with the V Encuentro

Article by Sister Mary Jude, SCMC
Photos by Wayne Gignac

On May 12, some 300 delegates from the dioceses of Springfield, Hartford, Bridgeport and Norwich gathered at the Hartford Archdiocesan Ministry Center in Bloomfield to celebrate the regional gathering of the national process known as the V Encuentro.  It was more than a celebration; it was a working session as well, as delegates came together to identify strategies for pastoral care and engagement of Hispanic/Latino Catholics for implementation in our region, Episcopal Region I, and discussion at the National Encuentro.

The V Encuentro, a priority in the USCCB’s Strategic Plan 2017-2020, is a four-year process of reflection and action that began in 2014.  Its overarching goal is to invite Catholics in the United States, especially Latino Catholics, to intense missionary activity and consultation resulting in leadership development and identification of best ministerial practices on all levels of church: parochial, diocesan, regional, and national.  

The process began in our diocese during Lent of last year in the five parishes most involved in serving Latino Catholics. Parish delegates were chosen to bring recommendations to the Diocesan Encuentro and identify priorities to be brought to the Regional Encuentro.

The areas of concern that surfaced were: Evangelization, Stewardship, Faith Formation and Catechesis, Family Ministry, Youth Ministry with Adolescents & Young Adults, Leadership Development, Human Development, Immigration, Liturgy and Spirituality, Peace and Justice, Global Solidarity, Ecumenism.  The delegates were asked to identify three strategies in each of these areas for implementation on the regional level and two strategies to be discussed at the National Encuentro.

So that the Regional Encuentro would be accessible to as many delegates as possible, two were held: one to the north to accommodate the dioceses from Maine to Providence, held on March 10; the other to the south, to accommodate the dioceses of Connecticut and Springfield.  The results of these two gatherings will be combined so as to have one document from Episcopal Region I. 

The day concluded with a ceremony commissioning those delegates who will represent their diocese at the National Encuentro in September twelve of whom are from the Diocese of Norwich.  All present were then sent forth to live their baptismal call to be missionary disciples: witnesses of God’s love in their parishes, homes and work places. 

Now that the gatherings and reflections of the V Encuentro have ended, the real work begins, that of implementing the recommendations made on each level and forming our hearts and our parishes in missionary discipleship. It is then that we, as Pope Francis says, can truly take on “the smell of the sheep” by actively ministering to those in our church communities.

Make a Joyful Noise!

Members of the choir from St. Mary, Star of the Sea Parish in New London provided music for the day.

“Our House is Your House”

Archbishop Leonard P. Blair of the Archdiocese of Hartford welcomed the delegates and dignitaries from the four dioceses to the Archdiocesan Center at Saint Thomas Seminary Chapel in Bloomfield. The concelebrants included Bishop Michael R. Cote of the Diocese of Norwich, Bishop Frank J. Caggiano of the Diocese of Bridgeport, and Monsignor Christopher Connelly, vicar general of the Diocese of Springfield and Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus Peter A. Rosazza of the Archdiocese of Hartford.

Regional delegates gathered at Hartford Archdiocese Ministry Center

Reverend Juan Angel Aguirre Palacio- Corpus Christi Catholic Community in Windham leading the delegates in the Opening Prayer.

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