About half-way through a four-year “encounter” process that includes parishes throughout the United States, the Archdiocese of San Antonio is set to welcome participants from some 100 archdiocesan parishes to a day-long V Encuentro event Sept. 30 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in downtown San Antonio.
Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller, MSpS, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee for Cultural Diversity and head of the national Encuentro effort, along with bishops, pastors, and organizers from the archdiocese, will lead hundreds of archdiocesan faithful through a day of reflection, engagement, and discernment sessions. Mass will be offered, and complimentary lunch will be provided, thanks to donations to the annual Archbishops’ Appeal.
The goal of this and other regional gatherings throughout the nation is to form faithful to “go into the peripheries” of life to spread the Gospel, according to organizers. The “periphery” is considered “places where our sisters and brothers are vulnerable, excluded, treated as outsiders, living in fear, isolated, ignored, invisible.”
About one million U.S. Catholics are expected to take part in this fifth Encuentro. Started in 1972, the movement originally had a focus on outreach with Hispanic Latino Catholics. Since then, it has expanded to become a national initiative of all U.S. Catholics.