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Delegates from the Diocese of Arlington to participate in the National Fifth Encuentro

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Twenty-two people from the Diocese of Arlington are attending the National Fifth Encuentro in Grapevine, Texas, Sept. 20-23. They hope to bring back what they learn to the diocese and their own parishes.  

“Every delegate of the diocese is in prayer right now, preparing themselves,” said Father José E. Hoyos, director of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate Sept. 6. “They believe this is a historic event, and they are ready to bring blessings to us in the Diocese of Arlington. That’s why we are so excited and so happy because we have been chosen by the diocese, and we have a very big responsibility.” 

Gilmer Paredes, a parishioner of Queen of Apostles Church in Alexandria, said he hopes the suggestions made by the encuentro will be helpful for local parishes and ministries, and that the ministries will continue to grow. 

“I want to find out what are some of the issues facing the church, and invite people from the outside to learn more about our church,” he said.

Ángel F. Valecillos, a parishioner of St. Joseph Church in Herndon, is attending to see what other people are doing in their parishes. “(Attending the encuentro) gives you the opportunity to find people around the world that have faith and are trying to see what you have in common,” he said. “We are trying to learn which way they are doing stuff and exchange ideas on how we can improve, and see how they are taking the message to people all around the world.”

Claudia G. Fiebig, pastoral associate at Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, is looking forward to listening to the ideas, hopes and dreams of the diverse group that will gather to pray and celebrate their faith.

“I hope to bring back to my parish and our diocese the evangelizing commitment to a line in a Fifth Encounter Prayer: ‘Make us all missionary disciples, and stay with us always, as we seek to share the joy of the Gospel with people of all generations, from every race, language, culture, and nation.’” 

“Encuentro does not end in Texas,” said Father Hoyos. “I think this is the beginning of something new that we need to bring again to the parishes and communities, and it is going to be good for us.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018