Diocese Prepares for V Encuentro
By Margarita Mendoza, El Observador Editor
May 3, 2018
CARPENTERSVILLE—A room full of people at St. Monica Parish here are among those who know what the V Encuentro is about.
They gathered as part of the Rockford Diocese’s preparation for a national event scheduled this fall in Texas.
The V Encuentro — or Fifth Meeting — of the U.S. Catholic Church’s Hispanic community is to be held Sept. 20-23 in Grapevine, Texas.
The goal of  the V Encuentro is to “see the past, present and where we are going.” explained Carlos Hernandez, director of Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Green Bay.
Hernandez and a group, including Ana Wilson and César Quiroz from his diocese, along with Father Javier Bustos, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, and Deacon Jorge Benavente, director of the Hispanic Ministry in that archdiocese, guided the Carpentersville event.
About 200 people from parishes and groups in the Rockford Diocese expressed their ideas about the strengths, weaknesses, and desires of the Hispanic community in the local Church. 
Preparation began at the micro level — the parishes — and aims to reach the macro level at the national V Encuentro. 
Bishop David Malloy opened the event, stressing the importance of passing the faith to new generations. He  also talked of the importance of attending Mass, especially on Sundays or Saturday vigils, and during the week. 
“I hope we can transmit to the young people the Catholic faith ... . What can we do to make our young people participate more in our schools? How can we evangelize our young people to the beauty of the family, of marriage?”
The bishop also asked the attendees to think about “What can we do so the Hispanic Catholic community in our diocese gives us more of their children for the seminary, to follow the call of the Holy Spirit to the priesthood? What can we do to motivate more our families and our youth?”
Green Bay’s Quiroz said of the growing Hispanic Community in the United States, “Now we are a lot, and we want to be a host. What are we going to give to the Church? We need to sit down to think about recommendations.” 
Msgr. Arquimedes Vallejo, Vicar for Hispanic Ministry in the Diocese of Rockford and pastor of Sacred Heart Parish in Aurora, encouraged said he expected people to express “their feeling, their desires, what they want, what they are looking for in our reality and needs of the Hispanic Ministry in our diocese. ... We are one ... in the unity of faith, as a Hispanic people, with our enthusiasm, our dreams and our joy.” 
Carlos Hernandez, director of the Hispanic Ministry of the Diocese of Green Bay, said he was very happy because “today (Saturday) the Diocese of Rockford is going to make history, because 22 parishes of Hispanics are coming to meet to make the Diocesan Encuentro. We really want to meet with oneself, with our community and especially with our diocese, working together Hispanics with Anglo-Saxons.” He indicated that Wisconsin “is one of the first states that made the Encuentro.
Deacon Jorge Benavente, director of the Hispanic Ministry in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, said he hoped “that people can express themselves, because that is the purpose of the V Encuentro, it is a consultation that is done at the national level, of the entire Hispanic community so that they can express themselves about all kinds of human and spiritual circumstances they have. The Church needs to know what Hispanics need; in the first place, on the other hand what is the commitment that Hispanics can make to their own Church in the circumstances we find ourselves in today, here in the United States.”
Rogelio Villalpando, parishioner from St. Monica said that he was looking for “knowing more about God and that our voice to be heard ... so that there will be more fruits in our parishes”. While the parishioner Yesenia Flores, said she hoped to “get several ideas on how to improve our Church and also maybe learn from other churches, what they are doing.”
Consequently,   Father Javier Bustos, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said in his homily, at the closing Mass of the diocesan Encuentro, “God is not mistaken. God brought you and planted you in this cold land (Illinois) as a missionary.”
The regional Encuentro of the section 7, where belong the states of Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana, will be held from June 8 to 10 at the University of Notre Dame, in Notre Dame, Indiana. Then it will be the V National Encuentro, from September 20 to 23 in Gaylor, Texas. The conclusions and meeting post V Encuentro will be between February and November 2019.