Hispanic Catholic youth, diocesan leaders to meet for National Encuentro

.- More than 2,000 young adults, bishops, diocesan coordinators and other parish leaders from across the country will gather for the first National Encuentro for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry, June 8-11, at the University of Notre Dame.

The historic meeting will call Hispanic young adults to a more active participation in the life and mission of the Catholic Church.  Half of all U.S. Catholics under the age of 25 are Hispanic.

Guided by the theme, Weaving the Future Together, the event is the culmination of parish, diocesan and regional encuentro meetings held in several cities. Participants from 126 dioceses will attend, including 20 U.S. bishops. Bishop Adalberto Martínez of San Lorenzo, Paraguay, and Rev. Gustavo Monje of Bogota, Colombia, will lead a delegation from Latin America and speak about how immigration impacts pastoral ministry.

The English and Spanish event is convened by the National Catholic Network de Pastoral Juvenil Hispana (La Red), a network of church-based organizations and pastoral ministers. The U.S. bishops’ Committee on Hispanic Affairs and Sub-committee on Youth and Young Adults, and the University of Notre Dame are co-sponsors.

The encuentro aims at focusing on the needs, aspirations and contributions of Hispanic young adults with the goal of developing a common vision and pastoral principles that will be presented to the U.S. bishops.

"Not only are young Hispanic Catholics a significant presence in the Church today, but they will be a very significant part of the leadership of the Catholic Church in the future," said Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, associate director of the USCCB Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs.

Keynote speakers will include Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga of Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Auxiliary Bishop Jaime Soto of Orange County, Calif.; and Sr. Maria Elena Gonzalez, RSM, of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio.

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