VISALIA—Priests, deacons, religious and Catholic laypersons from every vicariate of the Diocese will join Bishop Gerald Barnes in Visalia this month for the regional gathering to reflect and share information about the V Encuentro process with Catholics from all over California, Nevada and Hawaii.
At this regional meeting, to take place Apr. 27-29, each diocese from the three states, which form Region XI of the U.S. Church, will present its V Encuentro document, developed from diocesan wide gatherings and consultations. Dialogue will then take place for the creation of a Regional V Encuentro document.
The V Encuentro is a four-year process initiated by the Bishops of the United States to discern ways in which the Church can better respond to Hispanic/Latino presence. Bishop Barnes is the Episcopal Liaison for Region XI. Participants have been asked to express their needs and those of their Church, including issues specific to the Hispanic community but also many other topics impacting youth and young adults and their faith.
The Diocese of San Bernardino held its diocesan-wide V Encuentro event last July. Part of that process was to make initial nominations of delegates to attend the upcoming regional gathering. At press time, 246 delegates from the Diocese were expected to attend. This group includes 211 people representing specific parishes, 61 young adults and a delegation of 35 Diocesan Pastoral Center ministers.
Each delegate will be expected to engage in collaborative dialogue in one of nine ministry areas: pastoral outreach to youth and young adults, ministry of the family, evangelization and catechesis, leadership and formation ministries, vocations, social justice, restorative justice, education and migration.
Once the Region XI Encuentro document is completed, about half of the regional delegates from the Diocese will travel to Grapevine, Texas in September for the National V Encuentro gathering.
“We don’t want voices to be lost,” said Sister Marilu Covani, SP, Coordinator of V Encuentro for the Diocese, speaking of the many layers of meetings for the process. “In order for the voices to be heard there has to be the work of preparing these documents at all levels, beginning with the parish.”