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Hispanic Ministry


The word “encuentro” literally means “encounter”. When we use this word in Hispanic ministry, we invoke the memory of the Encuentro process started by the U.S. bishops in 1972 where they called together the Catholic Hispanic community in the United States to use the “See – Judge - Act” method in terms of organizing a “National Plan for Hispanic Ministry”. In the past years, many different dioceses in the U.S. have organized their own “Encuentro”.

1972 First National Hispanic Encuentro calls for greater participation for the Spanish speaking in leadership and decision-making roles at all levels within the Catholic Church and for the establishment of structures for ministry to be implemented.

1977 Second National Hispanic Encuentro recommendations express the desire of grassroots Hispanics for a more responsive, multicultural, spiritually alive, united, and creative Church through a process of evangelization.

1983 The U.S. bishops' pastoral letter, “The Hispanic Presence: Challenge and Commitment”, is published. The U.S. bishops call Hispanic Catholics to raise their prophetic voices again in a Third Encuentro.

1985 Third National Hispanic Encuentro process involves more than half a million Hispanics in a grassroots consultation that led to the development of the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry.

1986Prophetic Voices” is published: The history and process for consultation of the Third National Pastoral Encuentro.

1987 The Catholic bishops unanimously approve “The National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry”. The Plan provides pastoral priorities and action for Hispanic ministry at the diocesan, regional, and parish levels.

1990 Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs statement “Leaven for the Kingdom of God” is published.

The U.S. Hispanic bishops convoke Hispanic Ministry Directors and Coordinators to commemorate and celebrate the collaboration and communion of 50 years of a national ministry effort.

1996 Pastoral statement “The Hispanic Presence in the New Evangelization in the United States”, is published.

1997 The U.S. bishops approved a fourth national Encuentro.

1999Hispanic Ministry at the Turn of the New Millennium: A Report of the Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs” is published.

Many Faces in God's House: A Catholic Vision for the New Millennium, a parish guide to prepare for Encuentro 2000, is published.

2000 Encuentro 2000: “Many Faces in God's House” is held in Los Angeles, California, with the participation of more than 5,000 church leaders representing 150 dioceses and 157 different ethnic groups and nationalities.

2001 The Bishops' Committee on Hispanic Affairs convokes the leadership in Hispanic Ministry to a National Symposium to refocus Hispanic ministry for the new century.

2002Encuentro and Mission: A Renewed Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry” is published.

"We, the bishops of the United States, have heard the voices of Hispanic leaders-both laity and clergy”.

“This pastoral statement, ENCUENTRO AND MISSION, is our response to the voices of the leadership of Hispanic ministry about the Hispanic presence at the beginning of the new millennium. Hispanic Catholics are a blessing from God and prophetic presence that has transformed many dioceses and parishes into more welcoming, vibrant, and evangelizing faith communities. We bishops see Hispanic ministry as an integral part of the life and mission of the Church." (From the Preface and Introduction of the pastoral statement, ENCUENTRO AND MISSION, A Renewed Pastoral Framework for Hispanic Ministry).

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