On Saturday, June 25, approximately 900 Hispanic youth, young adults and parents from throughout the Diocese of Raleigh convened for the 11th annual Encuentro gathering.
Organized by Hispanic Ministry, the day-long retreat was held at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Raleigh. It carried the theme “Youth, Merciful like the Father” / “Jovenes, Misericordiosos como el Padre.” The theme was based on the invitation of Pope Francis to put into practice the Year of Mercy.
“It encourages youth to be awake in their faith and bring love to people in need, especially the poor and the sick,” Ricardo Veloz, diocesan coordinator of Hispanic Youth and Hispanic Young Adult Ministries, said.
Bishop Michael F. Burbidge celebrated Mass at the beginning of the day. Father Marcos Gonzalez concelebrated and delivered the homily. Father Francisco “Chesco” Garcia, Father Bill John Acosta-Escobar and Father Benjamin Tapia from the Diocese of Portland, Oregon, concelebrated as well.
After Mass, awards were given to those who had volunteered with Encuentro since its inception. Presenters included Juan Jose Trujillo, keynote speaker and musician, who spoke to the youth and young adult group. Veloz and Michael Bayer, diocesan senior director of Youth and Young Adults Ministries, presented the track for parents.
The event offered an opportunity for participants to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation, play games, meet other youth and learn more about their Catholic faith.