Region 1 Leaders
Region I gathers for training on the V Encuentro process.

On April 21-23, 2015 Episcopal Region I held their regional training in preparation for the V Encuentro Nacional Hispano/Latino de Pastoral at the Immaculate Conception Spiritual Retreat Center in Putnam, Ct, which is located in the Diocese of Norwich, Ct. In December organizers held a meeting via conference call for all directors and coordinators of the Office of Hispanic Ministry in the region, facilitated by Region I Co-Chairs Marina Pastrana from Catholic Extension and Silvio Cuellar of the Diocese of Providence. At that time, participants were informed of the process was taking place in preparation for the Encuentro and guidelines for the episcopal regional team formation.

The training held last month in Region I had an excellent turnout with 100% participation of the dioceses that have offices of Hispanic ministry. Representatives from the 10 dioceses in the states of Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Maine attended. The only absentee was the state of Vermont, does not count with a diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry.

Participants listen to Alejandro Aguilera-Titus from the USCCB.

The training began on Tuesday, April 21st with Silvio Cuellar, Co-Chair of the region and Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, Office of Multicultural Diversity of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops facilitating a general orientation. Wednesday, April 22, was the most intense day and was attended by 47 people representing 10 dioceses of New England, who have offices that serve Hispanics. The facilitator team was: Dr. Hosffman Ospino, Boston College, Estela Villagran, President of NCADDHM and Director of the Latino Ministry of the Diocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, Associate Director of the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs of the USCCB. Sister Mary Jude, Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Norwich, was the host and did an excellent job preparing the folders, materials for participants, and coordinating the logistics of registrations with the retreat. At the end of the day, Mass was celebrated by the Bishop Michael Cote of the Diocese of Norwich, who stayed for dinner and to accompany attendees.

Grupo Andes
Youth group “Voces de Los Andes” provides music during social hour.

After Mass, the last session of the day was followed by a social hour that featured the youth group Voces de Los Andes, of the Diocese of Providence, RI. The participants of the training included diocesan directors, priests, assistant priests, deacons, religious and pastoral assistants and lay leaders. Father Gustavo Falla, Director of Hispanic Ministry of the Dioceses of Bridgeport, CT, who attended his first regional meeting wrote:

“Thanks for all the hard work in preparing for this meeting, I had a great time. I commit myself and time for this crucial effort to our ministry, count me in!

Diocesan Directors of Hispanic Ministry from Region I with Estela Villagrán Mancanero President of the National Catholic Association of Diocesan Directors for Hispanic Ministry

On Thursday morning an additional meeting was held, to which all the directors of the offices of Hispanic Ministry were invited for the purpose of reorganizing the Conference of Directors of Hispanic Ministry in the region, a much needed endeavour after the Institute of Northeast closed. It was agreed to reorganize the conference and a meeting was scheduled in the Archdiocese of Boston after the summer. The conference is function with an interim leadership with Sister Mary Jude as President, Deacon Ramon Andrade, Director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire as Vice-President and representative to NCADDHM, Sister Patricia Pora of the Diocese of Portland, Maine as treasured and Silvio Cuellar from Diocese of Providence coordinating communications.



2015 © Silvio Cuellar.  All Rights Reserved. Photos by Silvio Cuellar.