Theme Selected for the V Encuentro

Between July and August 2015 the V Encuentro Process Team led a consultation among all ENAHVE members and Regional chairpersons inviting them to submit proposals for the V Encuentro theme and an accompanying biblical text. We received a total of 20 creative ideas, which reflected the depth of the thought of our Hispanic Catholic leaders and the energy that the reflection on the V Encuentro is generating. Early in September 2015, these same leaders received the 20 ideas and were asked to prioritize them in order of preference and select the top three. They were asked to discern how the theme proposals connected with the vision proposed by Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium #24 (see below), the current realities of Catholicism in the United States, how Hispanic Catholics are part of these realities, the call to the New Evangelization, and the spirit guiding the reflection on the V Encuentro:

Evangelii Gaudium n. 24:

The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved.

The process of prioritizing was done electronically using the SurveyMonkey tool. Nearly all ENAHVE members and regional chairpersons participated. On September 11, 2015 ENAHVE held a conference call. One of the agenda items for that meeting was to receive a report from the Process Team on the prioritizing process and then select the three choices of V Encuentro theme to be presented to the USCCB Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs for discussion and ultimately selection of the final theme from the choices presented at their November meeting. The group received a written report. After a very fruitful conversation, the group decided to present to the subcommittee four best options. These are organized below in order of preference (majority of votes).

1. Missionary Disciples, Witnesses Of God’s Love
Scripture passage: “What we have seen and heard we proclaim now to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us” (1 Jn 1:3)

Note: This is the choice the received most support among ENAHVE members and Regional Chairs. One suggestion was made to drop the comma (,) so it would read as a full sentence: ``Discípulos Misioneros Testigos Del Amor De Dios.``

2. Missionary People
Scripture passage: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21)

Note: One suggestion was made to add the word “Profético/prophetic.” If so, the theme would read: “Pueblo misionero y profético / Missionary and Prophetic People.”

3. Hispanic Brother And Sister: Awake And Proclaim The Gospel!
Scripture passage: TBD

Note: This suggestion emerged as third after the prioritizing process. This is why we keep it on this list. However, during the discussion at the ENAHVE meeting it was clear that the support had diminished for two reasons: 1) the use of ``Hispanic`` in the theme was perceived as exclusive, especially since there are pastoral leaders of all racial, ethnic, and cultural background engaged in Hispanic ministry. The V Encuentro’s strength is to foster unity instead of exclusivity. 2) The idea that the Hispanic community is ``not awake`` did not sit well with several leaders.

4. We Are The Church: Go And Bear Fruit With Joy
Scripture passage: “It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you” (Jn 15:16)

At their meeting on November 15, 2015, the Bishops from the Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs and the Committee of Cultural Diversity in the Church approved the official theme for the V Encuentro-

Discípulos Misioneros, Testigos Del Amor De Dios / Missionary Disciples, Witnesses Of God’s Love. 

The voting process was an anonymous process, as those voting did not know the name of the persons who submitted the themes. The official V Encuentro theme was submitted by Dr. Hosffman Ospino.

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