Approximately 400 Hispanic teenagers and young adults gathered Saturday, June 12, to work on a Diocesan pastoral plan for Hispanic young people. The document will be based upon the 2006 National Encuentro that developed the United States Hispanic Pastoral for Young Adults. Last year, the national document was reviewed at a regional level and is now at the Diocesan level; once it is finalized it will serve as a guideline for the Diocese and parishes.
Representatives from twenty-seven parishes took part in the day-long event held at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. The session began with an explanation of the purpose of the National Pastoral and its importance to the Hispanic community and the Church. Mr. Ricardo Veloz, Diocesan Coordinator of Hispanic Youth and Young Adult Ministry, provided the goals and objectives of the national document, noting that the day’s challenge would be to review them and then to create an initial document of what the needs, aspirations and commitments should be in a Diocesan pastoral plan for youth and young adults.
Small groups were formed to discuss the three areas. At the end of the day, working documents representing the needs, aspirations and commitments were developed by both the young people and the young adults. They were presented to the Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge at the end of Mass, which brought the day’s events to a close.
In accepting the two documents, Bishop Burbidge said, “I come here today to hear and to listen to how we as the Diocese of Raleigh, we as the Church and I as your Bishop can help you. It’s important for me to hear what your concerns are, what your hopes and aspirations are. I will take these back with me. I will pray over this and I will work with others to do my very best to respond and to help.”
Mr. Veloz said the youth and young adults are heartened by Bishop Burbidge’s desire to learn about their needs and his support for the development of a Diocesan pastoral for Hispanic ministry that also includes their commitment to become involved in parish life and in their communities.
“What really touched my heart today was that you not only told me what you wanted the Diocese and the Church to do for you,” the Bishop said, “but you came here and told me what you are willing to do to make our Church stronger, to make our Diocese more vibrant, and our world a better place. We need you. I can’t do this alone. No Bishop can. We are in this together and I hope if there is one thing you remember about today, it is that we never walk alone.”
Above: Part of the approximately 400 people taking part in the Diocesan Encuentro to develop a Hispanic pastoral plan for teenagers and young adults, which will include goals, aspirations and commitment to Church and community.
Below: Bishop Michael F. Burbidge receiving the document following the day-long Encuentro held at Cardinal Gibbons High School on June 12.