Parishioners at St. Benedict in Somerville take part in a parish "Encuentro" (Spanish for "Encounter") in preparation for the V National Encuentro on pastoral outreach to the Hispanic community that will take place in 2018. Pilot photo/courtesy Sister Elsa Narvaez Rodriguez
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BRAINTREE -- While the V National Encuentro is still a little over a year away, parishes across the Archdiocese of Boston are busily holding their own Encuentros.
A U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops initiative, the Encuentro (Spanish for "Encounter") is a two-year process designed to encourage evangelization, leadership development, and consultation in Hispanic communities across the U.S. Parish, diocesan, and regional Encuentros are held before culminating in a National Encuentro.
The first National Encuentro was held in 1972, and served as a way to take into account the needs and contributions of Hispanic Catholics throughout the U.S. Since that time, the event has taken place sporadically, with the last one, the IV Encuentro, taking place in 2000.
The V National Encuentro, to be held in September 2018, will focus again on addressing the pastoral needs of the Hispanic Catholic communities, one of the largest Catholic communities in the country and in Boston, as well as encourage communities to evangelize. That focus can be found in Encuentros on the parish, diocesan, regional, and national level.
The Encuentro is needed, said evangelization consultant for Ethnic Communities in the archdiocese Sister Elsa Narvaez Rodriguez, HMSP, because "we have seen that the community is growing, and we're not serving it as well as we should."