Bishop Andrew Cozzens of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis attended the regional gathering of Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota in April.
"I was so impressed with the spirit of the people here and their enthusiasm, especially for 'going out.' …To see the enthusiasm and their fire for that is so encouraging," Cozzens said, according to The Catholic Spirit.
Cozzens said that after the meeting he wanted to focus specifically on strengthening families, youth formation and evangelization. He encouraged attendees who have had an encounter with Jesus Christ to become missionaries to others.
"Sending out missionary disciples is not just changing the lives of others. It is changing our own lives, the lives of our fellow parishioners and also of the lives of the people we meet," he said. "When we have these types of experiences, we feel that Christ is with us, and these moments are so important because we can experience exactly what the disciples experienced. We can be, in these important moments, prophets of hope that the world desperately needs."
Abelardo Hernandez, a delegate from Rhode Island at the Northeast regional gathering in March, told Rhode Island Catholic that what struck him about the gather was "that everything flowed with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. We could feel the love of God that manifested within us as we shared with brothers and sisters from different parishes in dialogues focused on continuing our evangelization."
Fr. Michael Tobin of Kentucky said in an editorial for The Record that the regional gathering in Florida in March brought "forward the voices of the faithful. Our hard work to advise our bishops on what is flourishing in ministry and what is lagging will promote fresh action across the southeast and the entire country."
Pope Francis also issued a video message for the national V Encuentro, and said he had been "impressed by the vitality and the diversity of the Catholic community," in the United States that he witnessed during his 2015 visit to the U.S. for the World Meeting of Families.
"Throughout history the church in your country has welcomed and integrated new waves of immigrants...they have shaped the changing face of the American church," he said.
Not only does V Encuentro seek to "acknowledge and value the specific gifts that Hispanics have offered and continue to offer to the church in your country", he said, "it's more than that. It's part of a greater process of renewal and missionary outreach, one to which all of your local churches are called. Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter which encourages individuals and groups to share the riches (of their culture)."
He assured Encuentro participants of his prayers for the meeting and commended the work to Mary Immaculate.
"I ask you to consider how your local churches can best respond to the growing presence, gifts and potential of the Hispanic community," he said. He also prayed that the Encuentro would "bear fruit for the renewal of American society and for the Church's apostolate in the United States."
(Story continues below)
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
At Catholic News Agency, our team is committed to reporting the truth with courage, integrity, and fidelity to our faith. We provide news about the Church and the world, as seen through the teachings of the Catholic Church. When you subscribe to the CNA UPDATE, we'll send you a daily email with links to the news you need and, occasionally, breaking news.
As part of this free service you may receive occasional offers from us at EWTN News and EWTN. We won't rent or sell your information, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
Mary Farrow worked as a staff writer for Catholic News Agency until 2020. She has a degree in journalism and English education from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.