Hispanic ministry leaders of the archdiocese joined in a national virtual diocesan in-service event designed to complete the V Encuentro process. The final event has opened the way to create a national pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry.
The virtual gathering Oct. 9 and 10 was led by the Subcommittee for Hispanic Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
“Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many of the dioceses within the 14 regions of the United States could not hold their in-services (to address ministerial areas identified at regional Encuentros),” Wanda Vasquez, director of archdiocesan Hispanic Ministry, told Catholic New York last week.
“In response to the pastoral need, the USCCB Subcommittee held the virtual diocesan event to complete the sixth milestone, or phase, in the four-year Encuentro process,” she said.
Ms. Vasquez is also a consultant for the USCCB Subcommittee for Hispanic Affairs.
The virtual event included video messages from Pope Francis and Archbishop Christophe Pierre, the apostolic nuncio to the United States, expressing support for the V Encuentro mission. More than 100 dioceses participated.
A statement on the USCCB National V Encuentro website reads, “The pastoral landscape of the Church and society has experienced seismic shifts this year, amid the continuing unfolding crises of the pandemic, the call for racial justice, the economy and the continuing impact of global climate change. Our people are searching for ways to respond to these great challenges with limited resources in a spirit of synodality.”
Ms. Vasquez noted that the Church’s longtime call for fair immigration policies, or immigration justice, falls under the concerns stated on the website, including racial and economic justice based on Catholic social teachings.
Ms. Vasquez said the national event visualized the future of Hispanic/Latino Ministry in each diocese; helped dioceses and organizations identify, create or fine-tune their local pastoral responses; rejoiced in the fruits of the V Encuentro; and sent forth ministry leaders as missionary disciples.
Forty-four delegates represented the New York archdiocese at the virtual event, and dioceses led meetings and breakout sessions, Ms. Vasquez said. The archdiocese has eight ministerial areas, identified in the 2018 Regional V Encuentro, “that were fine-tuned to implement action steps for the next two to five years.” After the national plan is commissioned, an archdiocesan plan will be developed, she said.
The ministerial areas for Region 2, which includes all eight dioceses in New York state, are Evangelization and Mission; Family Ministry; Leadership Development and Ministry Formation; Faith Formation and Catechesis; Immigration and Migrant Ministry; Ministry to the Disabled; Hispanic Youth and Young Adults; and Intercultural Competencies.
The archdiocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry “has added an additional strategy to each of the ministerial areas: Hispanic Vocations,” Ms. Vasquez said.