SILVER SPRING, Md. — To celebrate the blessings of the Hispanic presence among us and to help build bridges of friendship within the different Hispanic fraternities of Holy Name Province, the Province is celebrating its second Franciscan Encuentro on Oct. 20. The event will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at St. Camillus Church.
The Encuentro will include prayer, praise, music, theater, talks, Mass, and testimonies from representatives from our parishes. Provincial CouncilorLawrence Hayes, OFM, will present the keynote talk, “Construvendo la Hermanadad Perfecta (How to Build the Perfect Fraternity).”
Though admission is free, a $5 offering is suggested for coffee, juice and pastries upon arrival, a substantial lunch, and sandwiches “for the road”after Mass. To register, contact your parish coordinator, email Gonzalo de Jesus Torres, OFM, or call Ana Schmitt at (302) 584-0733.
Friars and their partners-in-ministry have had a lot to say about the upcoming Encuentro. Below are thoughts and reflections from our Provincial Minister and members of the HNP Hispanic Ministry Committee, which is organizing the event.
“I encourage friars who are free Oct. 20 to consider joining the Encuentro. I had the opportunity to be present at the previous gathering and plan to attend once again on the 20th. It was one of the most joyful and uplifting experiences of the faith community that I have ever experienced. I hope to see you on the 20th.” — John O’Connor, OFM, Provincial Minister of Holy Name Province.
“The Encuentro is an opportunity for the Latino community to come together and celebrate its faith and vitality, its shared struggles and dreams. It is a moment of living out the popular saying, ‘En la union, la fuerza. (Strength in unity).’ It is also a way to acknowledge and affirm the growing Latino component of the Catholic Church in North America, which is soon to comprise the majority of Catholics in the United States. Finally, as the friars of Holy Name Province, it is an opportunity for us to express our solidarity with and appreciation for our Latino brothers and sisters who do so much to enliven our faith.” — Lawrence, Provincial Councilor and vicar of Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, N.C.
“This Encuentro comes with the sacred mark of the Franciscan tradition: building the brotherhood and sisterhood of those whose only hope rests in the promises of the Beatitudes. In that sense, it is a family reunion. And that, coming from someone who is family oriented, excites me. I am looking forward to being there on Oct. 20 and also in the fullness of times.” — Erick Lopez, OFM, vicar of St. Camillus Church.
“The Encuentro is a great way to enjoy a day with people of other parishes and cultures, and to share the richness of our faith with them on the tradition of St. Francis of Assisi. It will also be great to get together with the friars to continue learning from them, especially from our guest speaker, Larry, who I am sure will have a lot to share with us.” — Ana Schmitt, director of the Legion of Mary at St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington, Del.
“I compare the second Franciscan Encuentro to the famous World Cup of soccer that occurs every four years. The beautiful part is that at the end of the day, we are all winners. It’s great to be reconnected with our Franciscan traditions. Afterward, we return to our parishes to bring the joy that we have shared with our Franciscan sisters and brothers.” — Juan Turcios, OFM, vicar of St. Anthony of Padua Church in Camden, N.J.
“At a time when many people feel that the faith has lost its vibrancy, attending the Encuentro will show the depth of faith and the enthusiasm that are the hallmarks of Latino spirituality.” — Christopher VanHaight, OFM, pastor of St. Bonaventure Parish in Paterson, N.J.
“I was born to the faith in a Franciscan parish, hence my love of this charisma. Throughout all of my formation, Francis of Assisi was present. Participating in this year’s Encuentro fills me with hope and joy. In spite of the vicissitudes of this life, the Province and its parishes are building a better world. By walking together, we discover God’s reign within.” — Carlos Velazquez, director of Utopia Franciscana at St. Camillus Church.
— Fr. Christopher Posch is director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry for the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. He serves as chair of the HNP Hispanic Ministry Committee, co-chair of the San Marcos Guatemalan Solidarity Partnership Team, and site supervisor for Wilmington Franciscan Volunteer Ministries.