Northeast Hispanic Community Annual Encounter

By Berta Mexidor
TUPELO – Hundreds of parishioners gathered in the church of St. James on Saturday, Oct. 19 to hold a gathering of Hispanic families, youth and community leaders from all over the north part of the Diocese of Jackson under the motto “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening” based on 1Samuel 3:9-10.
The main speaker of the event was Alejandro Siller-González who was born in Mexico and works at the Congar Institute in San Antonio, Texas. Siller-González worked at the Mexican Cultural Center for several years until 2014 and has actively participated in the National Committee of the V Encuentro. Siller-Gonzalez addressed the youth at the event with the topic “Faith and Culture.” In his conference Siller-González told an anecdote about how important it is to call people by name because God communicates to each one by name, and each time the answer must be that of Samuel “Speak, Lord, for your servant is listening.” To identify when God speaks “You need to have a very close relationship with God and know him better,” summed up Siller-González.
Danna Johnson, community leader of the Deanery V, says that “… More than three hundred people from all over the north approached the event, not counting the children.” This activity is celebrated annually. “We need models of laypeople and families to help the church,” Danna concluded. The organizing team received the participation of the parishes of Southaven, Holly Springs, Vardaman, Columbus, Corinth, New Albany, Pontotoc, Houston and Tupelo. Daisy Martínez, coordinator of young Latinos in the Office of Intercultural Ministries of the Diocese, said that ”It was beautiful to see the number of people who gathered on this cloudy Saturday to open their hearts to the message of the day, let God’s will be our will and remember that God’s time is perfect.” During the day, the priests Mario Solorzano of Corinth, Jesuraj Xavier of New Albany and Roberto Mena, ST of Forest, offered reconciliation and Mass with the assistance of Deacon Francisco Martínez.
At the end of the work sessions and conferences the singer-songwriter, Jesus Rodríguez directed a song and praise session that included a song of his own “Speak Lord that your servant listens.” Rodríguez, of Mexico, has two record productions and is a Doctor of Medicine. He is recognized as one of the most important Spanish-speaking Catholic singers. Rodríguez encouraged the audience to sing to the Lord with a phrase he repeated several times. “When you sing, you pray twice.”