(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis sent a video message to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) on Tuesday during their annual fall General Assembly regarding the Fifth National Hispanic Pastoral Encuentro.
The Holy Father called on his brother bishops to ‘create a culture of encounter’ and to ‘break down walls and build bridges’.
Listen to Devin Watkins’ report:
In his video message, Pope Francis commended the upcoming ‘Fifth National Hispanic Pastoral Encuentro’ taking place in the dioceses of the United States from January 2017 to September of 2018.
He said the Encuentro, or encounter, is a programme designed to ‘acknowledge and value the specific gifts that Hispanic Catholics have offered and continue to offer, to the Church’ in the US.
Pope Francis reminded US bishops that the Church in America is called to ‘go out’ and ‘build bridges’.
“Our great challenge is to create a culture of encounter, which encourages individuals and groups to share the richness of their traditions and experiences, to break down walls and to build bridges. The Church in America, as elsewhere, is called to ‘go out’ from its comfort zone and to be a leaven of communion.”
He also said the Church must become “ever more fully a community of missionary disciples” and a “sign and prophecy of God’s plan for the entire human family”.
“We are called to be bearers of good news for a society gripped by disconcerting social, cultural and spiritual shifts, and increasing polarization. It is my hope that the Church in your country, at every level, will accompany the Encuentro with its own reflection and pastoral discernment.”
The Holy Father concluded by expressing his hope that ‘local Churches can best respond to the growing presence, gifts and potential of the Hispanic community’.
The full text of the video message can be found here.
Watch the Pope's video message:
(Devin Sean Watkins)