Being missionary disciples is not only a message addressed to Hispanics, but in reality to all the baptized. The V Meeting pushes us to go out to the peripheries and to share God's love.
Text Ernesto Vega, Los Angeles (USA) Coordinator of the V Encuentro in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Coordinator of Adult Faith Formation Ministry.
The V Encuentro is an initiative of the Bishops of the United States inviting the People of God to participate in a reflection rooted in Luke 24:13-15, and affirmed by Pope Francis in The Joy of the Gospel (EG). In these texts, we find the model of Jesus, the love of God who primes us, involves us, accompanies us, makes us fruitful, and makes us celebrate.
These five steps show a methodology of accompaniment and movement in going out, in involving ourselves in daily life with those who are in need in our context, those who are on the peripheries. In the peripheries we find people pushed by social forces and others by existential factors.
With gestures and attitudes we are called to accompany the poor in our contexts and to offer them the presence of God's love through our attitudes and the journey of life together.
All this sense of going out and accompanying those on the peripheries builds a fresh ecclesiology, which starts from our personal encounter with Jesus and that his love impels us to go out to others. The V Encuentro therefore makes us more aware of being missionary disciples, disciples who follow Jesus and are sent (mission) in his love to share God's love, especially with those most in need. By virtue of baptism we are all missionary disciples (EG, 120).
The V Encuentro has its platform in the Hispanic ministry in the United States; the spanish-latin ministry is the tool, the box and the wrapping that carries this reflective gift of the V Encuentro, but in reality being a missionary disciple is not only for Hispanics but for all the baptized.
The V Encuentro has a reflective structure of five sessions: Priming, Engaging, Accompanying, Fructifying, and Celebrating. During these reflections, parish group or apostolate participants are invited to analyze who in their context is on the periphery, identify one or two persons or families to go and visit during this process. The initiative to visit is taken and then a journal of questions regarding the visit is filled out. This information is collected, discerned and emptied to create a parish summary.
or apostolate as a document that enlightens pastoral initiatives or affirms existing ones.
Eventually the parishes and groups participating in the V Encuentro are invited to come together to share, learn from each other, and discern the priorities emerging from the parish reports. Responses to these priorities will also be mapped out.
These processes of the V Encuentro, which are being carried out at the ministerial, parish and diocesan levels, will also be done at the regional and national levels, creating documents at each level respectively, documents that will illuminate the pastoral care of the Church in the United States.
Getting out of comfort zones
The most beautiful thing about the V Encounter is to deepen the awareness of being a missionary disciple, developing a fresh perspective of building the Church, going out of our comfort zones to the peripheries of our contexts to go to the most needy and share the love of God in Christ Jesus through making presence, with gestures and attitudes, accompanying our brothers and sisters in the peripheries.
As Pope Francis points out in his Message for the V Encounter, "our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter that encourages every person and every group to share the richness of their traditions and experiences, to break down walls and build bridges. The Church in the United States, as in other parts of the world, is called to "come out" of its comfort zone and become a leaven of communion. Communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians and with all those who seek a future of hope.".