By Linda Bordoni
To Bishops and delegates at the Fifth National Meeting of the Hispano-Latin Pastoral Care, Pope Francis expressed his appreciation for their efforts to “create a culture of encounter that arouses hope.”
In his video-message to participants at the start of the Meeting, he said that by encompassing and talking to different communities and realities they are fostering respect for “different cultures, different ways of living, different ways of thinking” and helping them meet and walk in hope.
You propose an attitude that “encourages each person and each group to share the richness of their traditions, the richness of their experiences, to break down walls, to build bridges,” he said.
The Pope also commented on the themes of the V Encuentro noting that it aims to set out a concrete path for the Church in the United States to respond to the challenge of “going forth” and of fostering communion with all those who seek a future of hope, “especially with young people and families living on the outskirts of society.”
He noted that in continuity with previous Meetings, this one "recognizes and values the specific gifts that Hispanic Catholics offer today, and will continue to offer to the Church, in their country in the future.”
Francis said the work done in the run-up to this V Meeting has included reaching out to many immigrants who live in situations of fear and uncertainty offering them a sense of community, friendship and support.
He said it also turned out to be an instrument of grace that led to the conversion of the hearts of many people and to the pastoral conversion of parishes and other institutions.
Pope Francis concluded expressing his hope the “Encuentro” will continue to bear fruit, and that the Church will continue to accompany this process with her own reflections and with her own pastoral discernment once the National Meeting is over.
“In particular, I ask you to consider how your particular Churches can better respond to the growing presence, gifts and potential of young people and Hispanic families and other cultures,” he said, pointing to the contribution that the Hispanic community makes to the life of the nation, to the renewal of society and to the apostolate of the Church in the United States of America.