Encuentro 2015: Called to be, belong

By Elsa Baughman
JACKSON – The diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry is preparing to hold this year’s Hispanic Encuentro at the Greenwood Civic Center on Saturday, April 18, with the theme “Called to Be, to Belong and to Serve.” Activities will begin at 8:30 a.m. with registration and will end at 5 p.m. with a Mass celebrated by Bishop Joseph Kopacz and other priests who will be attending the encuentro.
The event is designed for youth 13 and older and adults. This year’s speakers are Edgardo Farias and Fabio Trujillo both from Miami. Sister María Elena Méndez, from the Office of Hispanic Ministry, is celebrating 25 years of religious life. She will renew her vows at the event.
Activities will include talks, music, reflections, and small group sharing sessions. The celebration of this diocesan event began in 2002 and was celebrated at Madison St. Francis of Assisi Parish. Since then it has been held in Tupelo and Jackson. Brother Ted Dausch, CFC, director of the office, says Greenwood seems to be the best place to hold the event because of it’s central location.
Mary Del Cid, a member of Hazlehurst St. Martín Mission, said her experience of the Encuentro has been very nice because she has had the opportunity to meet many people from all the different communities of the diocese. “To be able to share experiences with people from different countries is very beautiful and enriching,” she said, adding that “to be there all together and united as Hispanics, made me forget the borders and realize that at the end we are all equal, that we are all children of God and that we must be united and support each other no matter the color or race.”
She invited her friends and other Hispanics to attend the event and “to support it because it is a very good experience.” Del Cid’s sentiment reflects the spirit and objectives of this annual event where all who participate have the opportunity to experience what it is to be a Hispanic in the Jackson diocese and to reflect and live their faith together.
Brother Dausch said this event also offers those who attend a time to explore and examine the diversity among themselves and a way to discover the many gifts that are within that diversity.