Gathering Seeks to Move Church into Permanent Missionary Mode

Renewed and sustained by the Spirit of God, representatives from 16 parishes in the Diocese of St. Petersburg will join Bishop Gregory Parkes for a national gathering in Grapevine, Texas from September 20 -23 that is hoped to assist with rebuilding the Church. Dioceses from across the country will also participate in the V National Encuentro, an effort that seeks to discern the best way to respond to people who are not connected with a church, especially those who have fallen away from the Catholic Church. (Photo Caption: Delegates to the V Encuentro prepare at a meeting last month.)

Participants have been trained on how to start a conversation about faith and listen with an open heart to the concerns of others. This missionary process is known as an encounter, which is Encuentro in Spanish.

In 2017, local participants documented the feedback gathered from 1,000 people in the Diocese of St. Petersburg who openly shared their concerns and thoughts about faith and the Catholic Church. They encountered people in their families, neighborhoods, work and people on the peripheries or fringes of society.

“We will come together to continue the dialogue and reflection as we discern how to respond to those voices,” said Carlos Flores, Director of Multicultural Ministry, Diocese of St. Petersburg.

The pope’s representative to the U.S., Archbishop Christophe Pierre, wrote a letter to participants stating, “Your efforts and this gathering will have a lasting impact, not only on Hispanic Ministry but – through God’s grace – on the future of the whole Church in the United States.”

The V National Encuentro will also be attended by Vicar General, Monsignor Robert Morris and Vicar for Multicultural Ministry, Father Gilberto Quintero.

These are the represented parishes:

  • Blessed Sacrament Tampa
  • Blessed Trinity
  • Corpus Christi
  • Espiritu Santo
  • Incarnation
  • Light of Christ
  • Nativity
  • Our Lady of Grace
  • Our Lady of Guadalupe Mission
  • Our Lady of the Rosary
  • Resurrection
  • St. Anne Ruskin
  • St. Catherine of Siena
  • St. Cecelia
  • St. Patrick Largo
  • St. Patrick Tampa

Please pray for all the participants that their work will assist with rebuilding the Church and transform hearts for Christ.

Prayer of the V Encuentro

God of infinite Mercy, you sent your Risen Son to encounter the disciples on the way to Emmaus. Grant us today a missionary spirit and send us forth to encounter our sisters and brothers: to walk with them in friendship, to listen to their hopes and dreams with compassion, and to proclaim your Word with courage, so that they might come to know you once again in the breaking of the Bread. Make us all missionary disciples, and stay with us always, as we seek to share the joy of the Gospel with people of all generations, from every race, language, culture, and nation. We ask you this with burning hearts, filled with the Holy Spirit, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and through the loving intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization in the Americas. Amen