Cultural Diversity: Encuentro's work goes beyond Hispanic homes

by MILAGROS RAMOS
Thu, May 18th 2017 01:00 pm
Director, Office of Cultural Diversity
Milagros Ramos
Milagros Ramos

For the first time in its collaboration with Christ the King Seminary as a placement for field education, the Migrant Ministry has a diaconate candidate who is Hispanic, Jorge Silva. Besides working in the religious formation of the migrants, Silva collaborates with the team in the process of the V Encuentro (Fifth Encounter).

The goal of this process is to meet the needs of the local Hispanic community in our diocese. Within this national meeting, the work of all dioceses in 2018 will be presented in order to develop a more effective pastoral plan in the United States. The plan is not limited to the Hispanic community, but to all in general, with the Hispanic community being utilized as a model of what it means to live in the peripheries. It is through his work with the migrants, and his personal experience, that Silva proposed the formation of small Christian communities.

"The idea is not to have an education from houses to temple, but from temple to houses. In other words, it is to create ecclesial communities where one can go from house to house, providing religious education, preparation, gaining the trust of the majority of family members, thus helping to strengthen the family unity, providing and encouraging continued religious education similar to Catholic devotions for families," Silva explained.

Assisted with the guide of the V Encuentro, during the weekly meetings, the Biblical readings of the day will be read. The Word will be discussed, giving the opportunity for family members to participate in the discussion and understanding of the Word in their own lives. Depending on the spiritual life of the families, they will be taught how to pray the rosary, or a Communion service will be celebrated. This is to emphasize the importance of the family as the foundation of ecclesial life in the world.

Catholicism has strong roots in Latin American culture, especially with its devotion to the virgin of Guadalupe. Migrants, despite the situations they have to deal with day-to-day with their problems and conflicts, are able to maintain their religious devotion in one way or another. "This is an important point to work on, strengthening the faith and presenting another face of the Church, the pilgrim, solidarity Church; The Church that accompanies them in every moment of their lives in the pilgrimage of life," said Silva.

To give continuity and motivation to family members, the preparation of the leaders in charge of this ministry is important in order to emphasize the importance of the family in the life of the Church not as something external, but as something of greater importance that complements the union. It also enriches the faith of our society that is in constant search and test of God.

The practice of Catholicism should not remain in a conformism, but should be a continuous participation that goes from the churches to the houses, and from the houses to the daily life of each person. Our faith is not just a weekend obligation, but a reality to be practiced every day in homes, work, schools. We cannot separate what we believe from how we act in the broader community.

This being the case, we can achieve our goal as Christians passing on from a passive spirituality to a life commitment, and a transformation of our world, in order to make present the kingdom of God in love and justice.

The migrant community provides all the necessary elements for the formation of small Christian communities, something that is not new but requires time, patience and dedication. I believe in the formation of families as the most important aspect of strengthening Catholicism in our changing society to establish tradition, increase faith, and strengthen family unity.

We invite you to read more about the migrants and the V Encuentro on the USCCB website.  

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