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700 Hispanic Youth and Young Adults Attend Encuentro

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Approximately 700 Hispanic youth and young adults from 32 parishes across the Diocese of Raleigh attended the VII Diocesan Encuentro de Pastoral Juvenil 2012. The annual event is an opportunity for young people to collaborate with groups from different parishes to share their culture and traditions.

This year, the Encuentro Youth Convention took place at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh with “The Technology” as the topic. The day-long event featured speakers, music and worship to educate young people about the benefits as well as the cautions of using today’s communication technology.

“Our goal was to identify strategies to help young people to improve their use of the media,” said Mr. Ricardo Veloz, Diocesan Coordinator of Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry. The theme, “If God guides me … Welcome the Technology” (Si Dios me guia… Bienvenida la tecnología) encouraged the youth to respond to God’s call and to work together as family.

Encuentro concluded with Mass. The homilist was keynote speaker Fr. Rafael Capo, who concelebrated Mass with the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Rev. Francisco Javier Garcia-Gonzalez, Rev. R. Bruce Bavinger, S.J., and Rev. Ryan Z. Carnecer, C.I.C.M. Deacon Hector Velazco was also in attendance.

In his homily, Fr. Capo emphasized how John the Baptist’s evangelization ministry was one of joy and spoke of how the Evangelist would have used all tools available to him to spread Jesus’ message. Fr. Capo encouraged the youth to use the technology to evangelize to the world. He continued, "If God is guiding, we should welcome technology and use it as tool to give glory to God."

Fr. Rafael Capo is the Director of the Southeastern Pastoral Institute (SEPI) in Miami, an organization that that assists the Catholic Bishops of nine southeastern states to develop by training leaders in their faith. SEPI’s mission is to assist with the integration of the Hispanic community in the life of the Church and society.

In addition to traditional Offertory gifts, students brought forth technology tools and promised to use the tools such as cell phones and iPads to evangelize the world. 

Bishop Burbidge applauded them for their understanding of the importance of sharing Our Lord’s message in all ways possible, especially through today’s social media. “You are a gift to me and to the Diocese and for that I am most grateful.”

View photo gallery

Above: Diocesan Hispanic youth and young adults attending VII Encuentro June 23 at St. Raphael Church in Raleigh.

Below: Students presenting Bishop Burbidge with Offertory gifts including technology tools in pledge to use today’s media resources for evangelization.