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‘Together as Brothers’ Event Draws Friars from Around U.S.

Friars at the recent meeting in Albuquerque where they discussed Hispanic ministry in the United States. (Photo courtesy of OLG Province)

Earlier this month, friars from across the country — including two HNP friars Edgardo Jara, OFM, and Jim McIntosh, OFM — attended the “Juntos Como Hermanos” event — or “Together as Brothers” — to discuss Hispanic ministry in the United States. Ed Shea, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, provided a description of the Oct. 16 to 19 event. It has been edited for style. The HNP Communications Office welcomes information about other conferences and helpful ministry workshops. 

The retreat is one of the several collaborative events organized by the OFM provinces of the United States. In recent years, the Province has increased its focus on Hispanic culture. Two Encuentro Franciscano events and several vocation retreats for Latino men at the Province’s house of studies, among other activities, have been held. HNP ministries provide a variety of programs and services for Hispanic people. They range from youth groups to social justice committees. Information is available on the websites of individual parishes and ministries.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Twenty-five friars from across the United States gathered in Albuquerque this past month for the Fifth Annual “Juntos Como Hermanos” meeting. It was another excellent experience.

Efrén Quintero, OFM, and the friars from Our Lady of Guadalupe Province organized all of the activities, homemade meals and some excellent input, including a wonderful hour-long conversation with Richard Rohr, OFM, about the future of the Church and his present-day experience of working with millennials.

Our gathering happened at “A Becoming Place” in Albuquerque and we also had a half-day trip to Santa Fe and a wonderful meal paid for by the Provincial of OLG, Jack Clark Robinson.

There were basically four parts to the “input” of the annual gathering: We started with a presentation by Ken Johnson-Mondragón, who talked a good length about Pope Francis’ call for us to be missionary disciples and to foster passion in our work with youth and young adults, especially in the Hispanic/Latino community which is growing exponentially.

He quoted the pope who challenges us to be careful not to put catechesis before evangelization and to not “balconize” ourselves but enter into relationships with people exactly where they are on their life’s journey. Johnson had basically four sections to his presentation: a) Forming Missionary Disciples, b) Pastoral Accompaniment, c) Encuentro, Communion and Participation, and d) Encouraging youth and young adults to live their ideals through a personal encounter with Jesus Christ.

Richard Rohr, OFM, spent some time with us talking about what is called “Spiral Dynamics” and the experience of millennials in a “post-truth” world. There is a great deal of hope here.

We continued with some excellent input and experience with the USCCB’s latest pastoral work among Hispanic/Latinos in the United States called “V Encuentro” which is a multi-year process of engaging and celebrating the experience of the growing Hispanic/Latino Church in the United States and all that it has to offer for the future.

Finally, we met with Jack Clark Robinson for the first “R and R”  — Revitalization and Restructuring — gathering of the Juntos Como Hermanos focus group. We are all “on board” with this process and hopeful about the future.

As usual, we decided a date and location for next year’s gathering. It will happen in Silver Spring, Md., which is the site of the national postulant house as well as St. Camillus Parish and it is not far from the Monastery of the Holy Land. The dates are Oct. 22 to 25, 2018. All are welcome.

— Fr. Ed Shea, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province, was one of the key organizers of the first ‘Juntos Como Hermanos’ gathering in 2013. According to Ed, the original idea for the gathering of friars in Hispanic ministry came from a Sacred Heart Hispanic Ministry focus group. Ed is currently stationed at St. Peter’s in the Loop in Chicago. He is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and joined the Franciscans in 1980.

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