On July 14-15, 2015 Region VII held their training on the process of the V Encuentro. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee lent their space and arranged sleeping accommodations. Three states were represented: Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana.

IMG_1670Auxiliary Bishop Alberto Rojas, lead Bishop for the V Encuentro in Region VIII, accompanied leaders throughout the entire training. His presence was greatly appreciated. Edgar Beltran was also present and brought a unique perspective to the training since he has been involved from the beginning of the Encuentros. Edgar shared countless stories of rich history and materials from each Encuentro. Catholic Charities from the Diocese of Joliet and Catholic Relief Services Midwest Region were also present.

Participants reviewed the purpose of the training- to walk through the process lead us toward the V Encuentro. In order to understand where we are headed as Hispanic/Latino Catholics in the U.S., it was important to understand the past. By the end of the first day, participants walked through decades of the transformation of Hispanic Ministry in U.S.

IMG_1665Regional Chair, Enid Roman shared the vision of the V Encuentro with regional leaders. There was great discussion about the strengths and weaknesses of the previous Encuentros and the fruits of each. Throughout the training, participants learned about each other’s ministries, passions, and talents. Jorge Rivera, Hispanic Director of the Diocese of Joliet, led prayers and offered musical accompaniment.

Young adults in the church were a hot topic. Just like the Encuentro process starts with the person in the pew, so should the young voice be led by the youth in the church. A question that surfaced is how do you embrace the youth in the Church and allow them to be their own leaders without overriding current leaders? Participants broke out into small groups to discuss questions such as what does it mean to be Latino? What does it mean to be a Catholic Latino in the U.S.? What do you want to see come from the V Encuentro?

One response to the first question, “Ser Católico y Latino, es come decía el comercial de Univisión, es un Orgullo Hispano,” said Edith Avila Olea, Catholic Charities, Diocese of Joliet. It translates into, “Being Catholic and Latino is like a commercial on Univision used to say,” It’s a Latin Pride.”

2015 © Edith Avila Olea/ENAHVE.  All Rights Reserved.