My name is Junuee Castro, and I serve as the director of Youth & Young Adult Ministry in the Diocese of Salt Lake City. Responding to the call of the V Encuentro, I became part of the Diocesan team and accompanied the local Church in promoting and coordinating the implementation of the process. I was thrilled to witness the response of Latino leaders across the nation. Many of them have been sowing the sacred seed since the first Encuentro. To you, I express my gratitude for pruning the way and building a “house on the rock” for Latino Catholics in the U.S. (Mt. 7:24). To the new generations that have taken ownership of their role as missionary disciples resulting from the Encuentro process, you enliven the Church and bring much hope.
Through the process of encounter, I am challenged to continue serving the Church, especially those in the peripheries. The V Encuentro ignited, even more, my missionary spirit, validated my call as a baptized, and urged me to embrace the universal Church. Witnessing the Church in unison at a local, regional, and national level, made me proud, and strengthen my identity as a Latina Catholic.
I feel empowered and, thus, committed to my formation. As a laywoman, I aspire to be a theologian and share my contributions to the efforts of the New Evangelization
Presenting the conclusions and findings of the V Encuentro during the pilgrimage to the Holy See, was a graceful and affirming moment. I experienced an open and welcoming Church within the various dicasteries. The dialogue exchange with the different departments of the Roman Curia we visited was vital because their representatives were willing to listen and offered valuable advice. Those, whom we encountered at the Holy See, know about the V Encuentro process and embrace it because it resonates and expands on crucial documents like Aparecida, which fosters the call of missionary discipleship. Delivering the “Good News” of the National V Encuentro to Pope Francis was a historic moment for the Church.