In the last year, the Archdiocese of Baltimore began a renewal process that we call “Be Missionary Disciples”. The archdiocesan pastoral plan requires that all of us (Catholic center, parishes, laity, and parishioners) work together to create vibrant and sustainable centers of evangelization; Archbishop Lori calls this an effort of “Evangelization and spreading of the Gospel”. While some might be anxious about the future and apprehensive about change, we know that as people of faith, the Lord never ceases to walk by our side. The Easter season and Christ’s Resurrection is a vivid reminder that we must trust in our Lord during this transition time.
Here at the Catholic Center we are committed to helping the parishes and communities that we serve. We are here for you. Particularly in my own ministry, the Office for Hispanic Ministry, I am deeply committed to walk hand-in-hand with pastors and parishioners, identifying best practices and resources to better serve our growing Hispanic population.
Within the pastoral planning process, parishes are being invited to participate in the V Encuentro process. An initiative of the U.S. bishops, V Encuentro is the fifth national Encuentro (Encounter), a synod-like process designed to prepare the Church to better recognize and promote the gifts and talents that the growing community of Hispanic/Latino Catholics has to share with the Church and society. Similar to our archdiocesan pastoral plan to prepare for the future, the V Encuentro is a discernment and evangelization process to engage Hispanics (especially the 2nd and 3rd generations) and to prepare for the Church’s future. The main objective is getting to know Latinos and producing more involvement in the church of its second largest and fastest growing community.
As a Catholic family, we are all invited to go and encounter others. Pope Francis reminds us that we are called to meet with the marginalized, to reach out to our brothers and sisters, no matter where they live-and to allow them to come into our lives.
This Easter season, we have the opportunity to meet and reach out to others, whether they are the new parish we have been assigned as part of the pastorate program, our Hispanic/Latino brothers and sisters, or those in the peripheries of our society. Let us continue the Church’s long tradition of embracing newcomers as brothers and sisters in Christ. Let us walk together on the Road to Emmaus.
Watch the official video of The V Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry