BY ELIZABETH WONG BARNSTEAD, SPECIAL TO THE WESTERN KENTUCKY CATHOLIC
On Sept. 1, the Diocese of Owensboro’s committee for producing a new pastoral plan for Hispanic/Latino ministry met via video conference.
This was the committee’s third meeting so far, as they work to create a new pastoral plan (the last plan had expired in 2011).
Talking with The Western Kentucky Catholic a few weeks later, Deacon Chris Gutiérrez, director of the diocese’s Office of Hispanic/Latino Ministry said that creating a new pastoral plan is not just a project being done by the Diocese of Owensboro.
“In dioceses across the United States, offices of Hispanic Ministry have been asked to look at their pastoral plans,” he said on Sept. 14. “The purpose of this (Sept. 1) meeting was to start suggesting what we need.”
Deacon Gutiérrez said this is one of the fruits of the V Encuentro, which is a four-year process seeking to learn how to better engage and serve the fast-growing Latino population in the United States, in the spirit of the New Evangelization.
According to the official website, vencuentro.org, the V Encuentro “starts at the grass-roots level and calls for the development of resources and initiatives to better serve the fast-growing Hispanic population in dioceses, parishes, ecclesial movements, and other Catholic organizations and institutions in light of its theme: Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.”
It is also a priority activity of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Strategic Plan for 2017-2020.
During the video conference meeting, Deacon Gutiérrez explained that he joined the diocese in 2014, continuing the work begun by others.
Deacon Gutiérrez added that his office exists to be a bridge between Hispanic/Latino ministry and other diocesan offices. During the meeting, he and Patti Gutiérrez, the planning process consultant, shared videos that had been provided by various diocesan office directors to discuss what they currently offer and what they hope to offer in the future in English and Spanish.
Topics discussed at the meeting included what is desired for Hispanic/Latino Catholics, such as formation for catechists in Spanish. They also discussed what is currently being offered, like natural family planning in Spanish and the annual Encuentro Familiar held at Sts. Peter and Paul Parish in Hopkinsville.
Other themes of discussion included the need for committed Latino leaders in the parishes; greater care for Latino young people; more vocations promotion among Latinos; a focus on the New Evangelization; liturgical minister training needs; and more information about immigration.
Originally printed in the October 2020 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.
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