The close to 400 Hispanic and Latino parishioners who attended the Archdiocesan Encuentro X Sept. 2 heard from Archbishop Shelton J. Fabre that they are an important part of the local church and that their gifts are needed.
Archbishop Fabre spoke to adults, young adults and children from nine parishes during an opening Mass in Spanish at St. Rita Church in Okalona.
During his homily (translated to Spanish by Father Mike Tobin, pastor of St. Rita) the archbishop called the congregation’s attention to the Gospel reading from the Book of Matthew. In the reading, Jesus shares the Parable of the Talents, where a man goes on a long journey and entrusts his servants with talents — large sums of money — in varying amounts.
“In a similar manner Jesus has entrusted to you and me many abilities and talents that are very precious and we’re to use them until he returns,” said Archbishop Fabre.
The master didn’t tell his servants exactly what to do with the talents, instead, he entrusted each one with a different amount.
In his ascension, Jesus has gone on a long journey like the master in the parable, but he will return, said Archbishop Fabre.
“We cannot sit on the gifts and abilities that Jesus has given us,” he said. “I beg you to put your gifts into practice for the local archdiocese, the Hispanic community and all communities. You are an important part of this archdiocese. We need your gifts.”
Following the Mass, Eva Gonzalez, director of the Office of Hispanic Ministry, welcomed participants, saying in Spanish, “This is the 10th Archdiocesan Encuentro. That means we have been gathering for 10 years,” said Gonzalez. “This is an archdiocesan event which means we are a part of something larger than our parish.”
Referencing the event’s theme, “Llamados or Nuestro Nombre” (Called by Name), Gonzalez said, “We’re called by name to use our gifts. How will we respond? I invite you to enter into this day of reflection with an open mind.”
The day-long event included a keynote address from Dominican Father Sergio Serrano, who delivered a presentation on “Sacred Scriptures in the Life of the Faithful.”
Father Serrano — host of Ascension Press’ Bible in a Year podcast in Spanish — said the words of sacred Scripture “can transform our daily lives.”
Reading the Bible can be challenging, he said, but the Catechism of the Catholic Church states strength is found in the words of the Bible. That strength, he noted, nourishes the soul, the spiritual life and the family.
Workshops for adults, young adults and school-age children rounded out the day.