'And, as we are speaking of our seminarians, I want to congratulate Chris Boyle, one of our seminarians who is studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, who was ordained a transitional deacon this week.' Pilot photo/CardinalSeansBlog.org
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This week I was very pleased to take part in the V National Encuentro, which was held in Grapevine, Texas, in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This, as I have mentioned, was a national gathering of Hispanic leaders from around the United States to discuss their vision and hopes for the future of Hispanic ministry in the United States.
There was a group of about 35 representatives from Boston who attended the Encuentro. These are people from the various parishes who had participated in the parish, diocesan, and regional Encuentros leading up to this national gathering.
It was held at the Gaylord Texan Resort Hotel and Convention Center, which was a wonderful venue because it had a massive atrium. So, while you had the sense of being outside, you were actually covered under an immense roof. It gave you the sense of being in a capsule on the moon or something like that!
There were almost 2,000 in attendance, and one-third of them were young adults. One of the great points of emphasis in the five-year preparation for this gathering was outreach to young Hispanic Catholics, and the participants certainly reflected that.
In fact, one of the highlights for me was the dinner Friday night for bishops with the young adults.
Bishops were assigned to different tables with young adults from various dioceses. It was an opportunity to have a dialogue on many different aspects of their participation in the Church such as how to be better evangelizers and how to reach out to their peers. It was very edifying to see the faith of the young people and their love for the Church. The V Encuentro was like an oasis in the summer that was so filled with pain, sadness and shame.
The Encuentro began Thursday (9/20) evening and ran through midday Sunday (9/23). Over the course of those four days, there were numerous keynote talks, breakout sessions, and liturgies.
For example, we had an address by the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States, Archbishop Christophe Pierre.
We also heard from Guzman Carriquiry, vice president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America. He is one of the highest-ranking laymen in the Curia, and he spoke at the luncheon for the bishops.
My role was to serve as the principal celebrant of the Mass on Saturday. I also gave a talk on evangelization during one of the breakout workshops on Saturday evening.
I have been to all four previous Encuentros and, in fact, the first couple were held in Washington while I was a young priest. Each one of these Encuentros has really advanced Hispanic ministry in the United States considerably. So, I am hoping that this V Encuentro will help to galvanize greater participation, particularly of young Hispanics, in the process of evangelization. It was a time of great joy and enthusiasm.
And, as we are speaking of our seminarians, I want to congratulate Chris Boyle, one of our seminarians who is studying at the Pontifical North American College in Rome, who was ordained a transitional deacon this week. I was very pleased to hear that a number of his family members and friends were able to travel to Rome to be present for this happy occasion.