SALT LAKE CITY — All of the priests of the Diocese of Salt Lake City gathered Aug. 2 at the Pastoral Center to discuss and prepare for the national effort known as the V Encounter.
Guided by Bishop Oscar A. Solis, the priests learned more about how the V Encounter will be implemented in the diocese. Some members of the diocesan staff have spent the past 20 months preparing for the implementation.
“Bishop Solis is very excited because this is not just a process to unify all the Catholics on the peripheries, but everyone is welcome; besides, this is a process of the New Evangelization,” said Maria Cruz Gray, director of the diocese’s Hispanic Ministry, as she welcomed the priests.
The V Encounter is part of the diocese’s mission of evangelization, Bishop Solis explained.
“The effort of the V Encounter invites all Catholics across the United States to missionary activity, leadership development and identification of best ministerial practices in the spirit of the New Evangelization,” Bishop Solis said.
The V Encounter, titled “Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love,” is a priority activity for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. It involves a five-week evangelization process with five main themes: “Called to a Loving Encounter with Jesus,” “With Words and Actions: Do It!,” “Walking Together with Jesus,” “Bearing Fruits of New Life” and “Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples.”
“There are some people that don’t live their faith because they are scared, they have had bad experiences. ... We want to gather everyone to have a good time learning and sharing the joy of the Catholic Church,” Gray said as she explained how each theme will be presented in the diocese.
“We have a diocesan team that will be in charge of the presentations, so the attendees can then go to the other parishes and missions and reach out to all the Catholics,” Gray said.
Six parishes have been designated as sites where the presentations will be given: St. Joseph, Ogden; the Cathedral of the Madeleine; Notre Dame, Price; San Felipe Parish, Wendover; Saint Francis of Assisi, Orem; and Christ the King, Cedar City. The parishes were chosen because of their geographic location, so that parishes and missions throughout the diocese will have a local place to attend the presentations.
All the sessions will be bilingual except those at San Felipe, which will be in Spanish only.
Diocesan priests will select parishioners to attend the five-week evangelization process and consultation. Afterward, they will attend a Sept. 23 ceremony at the Cathedral of the Madeleine and be sent by Bishop Solis to return to their parishes and missions “to go spread the Encounter in our diocese,” Gray said. “This is a way to keep our Church alive, to let everyone know that we all are one, we are all welcome.”
For information about the V Encounter, call the Hispanic Ministry office, 801-328-8641 ext. 332 or 361.