By ROB HERBST
The Catholic Week
MOBILE — About 100 Hispanic Catholic leaders from the Province of Mobile came together Oct. 12 for the next step of V Encuentro.
V Encuentro, or the Fifth National Encuentro, is a years-long nationwide process which aims to identify ways to better minister to Hispanic Catholics in the U.S.
It began with preliminary planning in 2014 and then parish, diocesan and regional Encuentros before V Encuentro in 2018 in Texas. Representatives from the Archdiocese of Mobile and the Dioceses of Birmingham, Bilxoi and Jackson, Miss., met at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Mobile this month to discuss the recommendations which arose from V Encuentro and to identify the most pressing needs to include in their final recommendations.
According to research published by vencuentro.org, as of 2016 an estimated 31,000 Hispanic Catholics live within the Archdiocese of Mobile, making up almost 28 percent of all Catholics living within the archdiocese’s boundaries.
“We want to make the U.S. church better not only for the Hispanic population, but for the universal church in the U.S.,” said Archdiocese of Mobile Director of Hispanic Ministry Deacon Hector Donastorg.
According to Deacon Donastorg, representatives discussed strategies and recommendations in 13 ministerial areas, including stewardship, immigration, campus ministry and vocations.
Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi began the day by celebrating Mass, which was concelebrated by Fr. Marco Sanchez, S.T., who ministers at Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel in Clio, as well as St. Catherine of Siena Pastor Msgr. James Kee, Fr. Everado Mora Torres of the Diocese of Biloxi and Fr. Rafael Capo, executive director of SEPI – Southeast Pastoral Institute.
SEPI serves 30 dioceses and organized the provincial Encuentro.
By ROB HERBST