Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Atlantan To Represent U.S. At Panama Encounter

Published January 25, 2007

The Archdiocese of Atlanta has been invited to represent the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and participate in the XV Latin American Encounter for National Representatives of Youth and Young Adult Ministry. This “encuentro” conference, convened by the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), is not only historical but important for the pastoral development of the vision for ministry to young people in and from Latin America. The event will take place from Sunday to Saturday, Feb. 4-10, in Panama City, Panama.

Leonardo Jaramillo, director for Hispanic youth and young adult ministry in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, was chosen by the Secretariat for Hispanic Affairs and the Subcommittee on Youth & Young Adult Ministry of the USCCB to be part the U.S. delegation, along with Bishop Jaime Soto, auxiliary bishop of Orange, Calif., and president for the USCCB Subcommittee for Youth and Young Adults. Also attending from the United States will be Marissa Esparza, Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry, San Diego, Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, associate director for the USCCB Hispanic Affairs Secretariat, and Sister Eileen McCann, CSJ, USCCB coordinator for youth and young adult ministry.

Jaramillo is honored to represent the archdiocese at the Encuentro.

“I never imagined this invitation because I consider that there are more qualified people than me to attend this event. I feel very happy and thankful to God for this opportunity. This encuentro in Panama is in preparation to the V Conference of the General Episcopate of Latin America with Pope Benedict XVI,” he said. “The U.S. delegation will take the voice of the young people that live in the United States, including those voices that were expressed at the recent first National Encuentro for Hispanic Youth and Young Adult that took place last summer. I want to thank the Hispanic Ministry Office, Father Luis Zarama and Archbishop Wilton Gregory for supporting my participation in this Encuentro of the CELAM.”

This encuentro is a process of dialogue in which participants will look into the principal realities that impact the lives of young people in economic, political, social, ecclesial, cultural and ecological areas. The gathering also includes a process of reflection and action that provides pastoral practices, options, actions and attitudes to enable the young people to be disciples of Jesus Christ in all areas of their lives.

The CELAM is an organization of the Catholic Church that was founded in 1955 by Pope Pius XII for the bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean.

CELAM provides services of networking, communion, formation, research and reflection to the 22 episcopal conferences that exist in Latin America, from Mexico to the Cape Horn, Chile, including the Caribbean and the Antilles. Its governing body is elected every four years by an ordinary assembly composed of the presidents of the episcopal conferences.

The XV Latin American Encuentro in Panama is also part of the preparation for the V Conference of the General Latin American Episcopate, which will take place in Aparecida, Brazil, from May 13-31, 2007. Pope Benedict XVI is expected to attend and to participate in the event in Brazil.

The theme for this conference in Brazil will be “Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ so Our Communities in Him May Have Life.” The USCCB will also participate in this conference.