First ‘Encuentro Franciscano’ Planned for October

HNP Communications In the Headlines

NEW YORK — The Province and its Hispanic Ministry Committee are preparing for “Encuentro Franciscano,” the first event of its kind to celebrate the blessings of the Hispanic presence among Holy Name ministries. 

St. Camillus Church in Silver Spring, Md., will host the daylong Oct. 24 event, which in English means “Franciscan encounter.” All HNP ministries are invited to send representatives to the event, which will include speakers, prayer, praise, music, theater, breakout sessions, group reflections, worship and Mass. 

“Encuentro Franciscano: Challenges for the Community & Evangelization” will celebrate the blessings of the Hispanic presence in the Province, in an effort to help build bridges of friendship with lay partners.

Two keynote talks headline the 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. event that will also include 12 breakout sessions, many given by friars. Several of the talks and sessions will be presented in both English and Spanish. 

Keynote Speakers
Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, will be participating, along with Bishop Francisco Gonzalez of the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., who will preside at the closing Mass. Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, associate director for the National Multi-Cultural Ministry Office of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, will give a keynote talk on “Young Adults Committed to the Ecclesial and Social Mission of the Church.” Carlos Atilio Roman, pastoral associate for evangelization at St. Camillus, will speak on “Encountering the Living Christ and Committing to the Evangelizing Mission of the Church in Our Daily Lives.” 

Breakout sessions will include topics such as immigration, communication in diverse cultural settings, proselytizing sects, maintaining one’s faith in a foreign land, vocations, environment, scripture and Franciscan spirituality.

All Province ministries are invited to bring friars, staff and lay leaders. Ministries are encouraged to appoint an “Encuentro” site coordinator to assist in registration and logistics so churches and ministries can register as a group. Names of the site coordinators should be sent by June 10 to Christopher Posch, OFM, chair of HNP’s Hispanic Committee, at

In addition, each participating ministry is asked to write a brief report outlining best practices, pastoral challenges and new incentives. Reports are requested by Sept. 1 and should be sent to committee memberThomas Conway, OFM, at 

Participants are also invited to send a five- to 10-minute video showing the faith life of their ministries. They are asked to include reasons the ministry is special and the source of its success. The committee chair asks that a DVD or a link to YouTube be sent to Christopher VanHaight, OFM, St. Bonaventure Church, 174 Ramsey St., Paterson, NJ 07501,

Breakout Sessions
• “Comunicación con Hermanos(as) en las Culturas Diversas/Communication in Diverse Cultural Settings”
Aguilera-Titus will explore how people from various cultures communicate and make decisions. Presented in English and Spanish.

• “Contemplación Franciscana: Soledad y Oracion/Franciscan Contemplation: Solitude & Prayer”
Erik Lopez, OFM, friar intern at St. Patrick-St. Anthony Church, Hartford, Conn. 

• “La Fe y la Cultura al Cruzar la Frontera/How Immigrants Can Maintain Their Faith and Culture in a New Land”
Vicki Walters, outreach director at St. Anthony of Padua Church, Camden, N.J. 

 Jóvenes: Celebrando Autoestima/Youth & Young Adults: Celebrate Self Esteem”
Junior Ortega, director of charismatic renewal, Delaware State University and St. Paul Parish, Wilmington, Del.

 Jóvenes: La Esperanza/Youth & Young Adults: Hope”
Junior Ortega

 Nueve Pasos Para Realizar Integración Ecclesial/Nine Steps Towards Ecclesial Integration”
Alejandro Aguilera-Titus will explore a roadmap for building bridges between new immigrants and mainstream parishioners that give all members of the Body of Christ their unique ecclesial space, thus enabling shared faith journey. Presented in English and Spanish.

• “¿Que dice la Biblia Sobre la Inmigración? / What does the Bible Say About Immigration?”
James Scullion, OFM, scripture scholar, St. Francis Church, Brant Beach, N.J. Presented in English and Spanish.

• “El Reto de la Familia: Ninos que Poseen Una Grandeza Escondido/Family Challenges: Children with Undiscovered Greatness”
Lizette Alfaro, counselor, St. Paul, Wilmington, Del. Wisdom and techniques of “Nurtured Hearts/Corozones Alimentados.”

 “El Reto de la Inmigración / Immigration Challenges”
Brian Jordan, OFM, director of Franciscan Immigration Outreach Services in New York City.

 “El Reto de las Sectas / Proselytizing Sects”
Luís Larios, director of Cursillo Movement, Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. 

• “Salvando Nuestro Futuro: Protegiendo Nuestra Madre Tierra de un Desastre Ecológico/Saving Our Future: Protecting Our Mother Earth From an Ecological Disaster”
Jacek Orzechowski, OFM
, of St. Camillus Church

 “Vocación Religiosa: Una opción de vida Animando Vocaciones en la Comunidad Hispana / Religious Vocation: A Way of Life”
Gonzalo de Jesús Torres, OFM, of Holy Name of Jesus Parish in New York

Music for the day will include songs and praise from Utopia Franciscana of St. Camillus. If a ministry would like to contribute to the music program, or provide artwork or a banner for the entrance Mass procession, contactLawrence Hayes, OFM, at St. Camillus by calling (301) 434-3400 by Sept. 15. 

How to Register
To register, contact and request the “Encuentro” registration tool. It is best to register as a group. Questions are welcomed by Chris Posch,, or Ana Schmitt, (302) 584-0733.

A $5 offering is suggested to cover the costs of coffee and pastries, a full lunch and sandwiches to “take on the road” after closing Mass, Chris said.