Apostolic Nuncio to Give Keynote At Regional V Encuentro in Albany

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After conducting a successful archdiocesan Encuentro in February, representatives from the Hispanic Ministry Office and various New York parishes will meet with their counterparts during the three-day statewide Region 2 V Encuentro in Albany later this month.

The June 22-24 gathering at the Desmond Hotel is expected to draw 300 delegates from all eight dioceses in New York state, plus a team of 23 regional leaders and a consultative team of eight theologians.

Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, will deliver the keynote address June 23. The archbishop will talk about taking the first steps toward becoming a missionary disciple and the blessings that flow from that.

Bishop Edward Scharfenberger of Albany will celebrate the opening Spanish/English Mass, set for 9 a.m. Saturday, June 23. Bishop Richard Malone of the Diocese of Buffalo will deliver the homily in English.

The conference, which will feature work sessions, mini-plenary gatherings, presentations and the praying of the Angelus.

Auxiliary Bishop Octavio Cisneros of Brooklyn is episcopal representative of the Region 2 Encuentro, which encompasses all of New York state.

The event’s closing Mass, Sunday at 10:30 a.m., to be celebrated by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn, will be open to the public. Auxiliary Bishop Robert Brennan, the vicar general of the Diocese of Rockville Centre, will deliver the homily.

“My hope is that, for the Archdiocese of New York, I would like to see strategies that can be implemented throughout the archdiocese, where our parishes are open and they become fruitful,” Wanda Vasquez, director of the archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry Office, told CNY May 31.

“On the regional level, which embodies all eight dioceses, I’m hoping that this will open the door to a greater collaboration between all of the dioceses in New York state, where we are beginning to work as one region,” she added.

Ms. Vasquez, chairwoman of Region 2 Encuentro, noted there will be discussions about a regional document highlighting seven areas of ministry: Family Ministry; Leadership Development/Ministry Formation; Evangelization and Mission; Immigration; Youth and Young Adults; Faith Formation; and Intercultural Competencies (addressing diversity in the Church; getting to know your neighbor).

One of the youth ministry sessions will feature at least two teens giving testimony on their emerging Encuentro leadership roles. The delegates will discuss improving ministries for people with disabilities and strategies provided by the national Encuentro team of the U.S. Bishops.

Encuentro focuses on where Hispanic ministry is now and where it needs to be in the future. It seeks to recruit more of the faithful into Hispanic ministries and train them for leadership roles in response to the rising population of Hispanics in the United States. It also strives to reach people who are out in the peripheries.

The archdiocesan Encuentro occurred Feb. 24 at the College of Mount St. Vincent in the Bronx. The U.S. Church’s first Encuentro for Hispanic ministry was held in 1972. The 2018 National V Encuentro is scheduled Sept. 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas.

New York Auxiliary Bishop Peter Byrne told CNY last week that Encuentro is important at all levels within the Church, “to raise the public conscience of the presence of Hispanics in the Church.”

The bishop said that in Albany he will be part of a panel addressing youth ministry. He also said he plans to attend the National Encuentro gathering in September.

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