Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Encuentro May 1 To Focus On Hispanic Ministry

By PRISCILLA GREEAR, Staff Writer | Published April 1, 2004

The archdiocesan Hispanic Apostolate is inviting all Catholics involved or interested in Hispanic ministry to the Archdiocesan Encounter for the Hispanic Ministry, or Encuentro, to be held on Saturday, May 1, at Holy Cross Church in Atlanta.

The event in Spanish and English through simultaneous translation will be held from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the parish hall, concluding with Mass and social time.

Father Jose Duvan Gonzalez, priest liaison to the Hispanic Apostolate, and Jairo Martinez, program assistant, will talk about the master plan for developing the Archdiocesan Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry.

In addition, Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, associate director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs, will speak on USCCB documents concerning Hispanic ministry, and Auxiliary Bishop John Manz of Chicago will speak on the history of immigration to the United States.

Father Pedro Poloche, parochial vicar at the Cathedral of Christ the King, Atlanta, will speak on the history of immigration in the Atlanta Archdiocese, and Msgr. Hugh Marren, pastor of St. Benedict Church, Duluth, will speak on his vision for Hispanic ministry in the Atlanta Archdiocese.

The master plan for Hispanic ministry was developed through meetings with pastoral agents working in Hispanic ministry throughout the archdiocese, including Spanish and non-Spanish speaking priests, Religious, deacons, lay Hispanic ministers, archdiocesan movements such as the Cursillo movement, and archdiocesan offices related to Hispanic ministry,

The master plan is for the future collaborative project of creating a pastoral plan for ministry to Hispanics across North Georgia—similar to a business plan for a company with short-and long-term goals and proposed actions to reach them. The objective of the master plan is to create accountability, ownership and coordination of all the pastoral agents and to provide the resources required for the successful development and execution of the pastoral plan. Father Duvan and Martinez will discuss the process through which the pastoral plan will be implemented as well as the goals and vision behind it. The priest said that the plan is a commitment not only of the Hispanic community but of the entire archdiocese, and he hopes that all involved directly or indirectly with Hispanic ministry, Hispanic and Anglo, will attend, including parish staff, Religious, pastors, deacons and ministry volunteers. It is intended to empower ministers in their work in Hispanic ministry and to build a spirit of teamwork.

“We want to invite all the community,” said Father Duvan. “It is important to participate in this event so that we are all on the same page with the pastoral plan which we are going to present to the Hispanics of our archdiocese . . . We want them to get involved in the implementation of the pastoral plan, in the development of the plan to respond to the needs of the community.”

“We have had all these meetings with all the pastoral agents. We want to kick off this process with this encuentro,” added Martinez.

The Mass and time to socialize is important because “this is the first time to meet with all the Hispanic leaders around the archdiocese and we would like to have them sharing and gathering to know each other,” said Martinez.

The main objective of the Hispanic Apostolate is to promote, advocate for, and help with the implementation of the National Pastoral Plan for Hispanic Ministry, approved by the USCCB in 1987, as it evolves to meet the needs of this archdiocese. The archdiocesan office will carry out this role by facilitating meetings, workshops and training sessions, sharing information and establishing a communication system, providing follow-up and evaluation tools and getting approvals.

Hispanic priests will function as the leader group and serve as consultants in the development process, implementation and follow-up of the plan. They will promote continuous communicating and active participation, putting special emphasis in their parishes on providing for ongoing evaluation by meetings, workshops and training and feedback. Other pastoral agents will have similar responsibilities. The pastoral agent groups will each pick a representative to serve on an archdiocesan assembly, which will begin forming after the May event, and will actually develop and update the local pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry.

“We want to involve the community, to listen to their necessities, their priorities and, according to our realities, to give our proposals for this archdiocese. We want to plan with the community and not only from our office or not only from our division for priests, but we want to involve the community, leaders, movements, the Religious sisters, deacons,” said Father Duvan. “The Nueva Era is coming.”

Pre-registration is requested but persons can register on the event day. The cost is $10 and includes lunch, snacks and program materials. Checks payable to the Hispanic Apostolate should be mailed to 680 W. Peachtree St., NW, Atlanta, GA 30308-1984. For registration information, call Silvia Maldonado of the Hispanic Apostolate at (404) 885-7289.