By Melissa Butz
Hispanics and Latinos from 175 dioceses around the United States met with Pope Francis on the morning of September 18, with the goal of presenting him with the results of last year’s National V Encuentro of Hispanic and Latino Ministry.
Included in the U.S. delegation of Catholic bishops and laity were clergy from the Diocese of Brooklyn included in that list.
“We came here three years ago, talking with the Holy Father and cardinals from different departments about what we expected and wanted to do. Now we come back, telling the story of what we can do,” explained Bishop Nelson Perez of Cleveland.
The September 2018 Encuentro, which hosted 3,000 Hispanics and Latinos, was held in Texas. Themes of last year’s Encuentro included immigration, higher education, leadership formation, community outreach and evangelization.
“This process of listening, of consulting, of listening to our people, of being able to see how the Church is treating and responding to the pastoral needs of our people,” was part of the four-year study, explained Auxiliary Bishop Jose Arturo Cepeda from the Diocese of Detroit, Michigan.
On Wednesday, they told Pope Francis the excitement Hispanic and Latino Catholics have for their faith, especially youth.
Additionally, bishops shared how they are hoping to accompany these communities and form leaders and missionary disciples across the United States.
They said the next step now is for U.S. bishops to implement the pastoral plan, with the hopes that the United States becomes a nation that welcomes immigrants and likewise transforms the Catholic Church within the country.