Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for The V Encuentro
Dear brother bishops,
I am pleased to have
the opportunity to speak to you. Just a year
ago I was with you during my pastoral visit to the United States. There, I was
impressed by the vitality and diversity of the Catholic community.
history, the Church in your country has welcomed and integrated new waves of
immigrants. In their rich variety of their languages and cultural traditions,
they have shaped the changing face of the American Church.
In this context, I will
commend the coming Fifth National Hispanic Pastoral Encuentro. The celebration
of this V Encuentro will begin in dioceses this coming January, and conclude
with a national celebration in September of 2018.
In continuity with its
predecessors, the Encuentro seeks to acknowledge and value the specific gifts
that Hispanic Catholics have offered, and continue to offer, to the Church in
your country. But it is more than that: it is part of a great process of
renewal and missionary outreach--one to which all of your local churches are
Our great challenge is
to create a culture of encounter which encourages individuals and groups to
share the richness of their traditions and experience; to break down walls and
to build bridges.
The Church in America
as elsewhere is called to go out from its comfort zone and be a leaven of
communion; communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians, and with all
who seek a future of hope. We need to become ever more fully a community of
missionary disciples, filled with love of the Lord Jesus and enthusiasm for the
spread of the Gospel.
The Christian community
is meant to be a sign of prophesy, of God´s plan for the entire humanity. We
are called to be bearers of good news for a society kept by disconcerting
social, cultural and spiritual shifts and increasing polarization.
It is my hope that the
Church in your country, at every level, will accompany the Encuentro with its
own reflection and pastoral discernment. In a particular way, I ask you to
consider how your local churches can best respond to the growing presence,
gifts, and potential of the Hispanic community.
Mindful of the
contributions that the Hispanic community makes to the life of the nation, I
pray that the Encuentro will bear fruit for the renewal of the American society
and for the Church´s apostolate in the United States.
With gratitude to all [those]
engaged in the preparation for the V Encuentro, I assure you of my prayers for
this important initiative of your Conference.
Commending you and the
clergy, religious, and lay faithful of the local churches to the prayers of
Mary Immaculate, I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of grace
and peace in the Lord.