Next month, parishes throughout the six counties of the Diocese of Camden will hold celebrations for V Encuentro, a multi-year process that gathers Hispanic Catholics together, recognizes their God-given gifts, and calls on them to missionary activity and leadership in the spirit of the new evangelization.
In Deanery 4’s Atlantic County, with its five parishes with Hispanic Ministry, the church communities are wrapping up their weekly meetings in anticipation of the parish event, and, later this year, a diocesan-wide one.
Maira Castillo and Maria Duran, sisters and Coordinators of the V Encuentro at Northfield’s Saint Gianna Beretta Molla Parish, say the meetings their church completed have created an excitement throughout the community, ahead of the parish’s own event on May 19.
“Two hundred people met in bodegas (grocery stores), in homes, and other places” to prepare, said Duran.
“Everyone is happy and excited,” she added.
More importantly, the sessions have given a sense of empowerment to the area’s Hispanic Catholics; their voice is needed now, and with their talents, can build up the Kingdom of God.
“They feel important,” Duran said.
“They have loved the opportunity to express themselves. Their opinion has counted.”
Andrés Arango, Bishop’s Delegate for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Camden stated: “Pope Francis invites us to be Iglesia en salida (Church on a mission).
“It is extraordinary to see how many Hispanic leaders in our diocese heard this call and are taking the Gospel to houses, grocery stores, nursing homes, prisons, etc. through this process of the V Meeting,” he said.