Like many other communities through the diocese and the nation, this past Saturday, Latino parishioners gathered to renew their missionary-discipleship of Jesus at St. Anthony's Catholic Parish in the historic northeast of Kansas City, MO.
The day began with musicians Fernando and seminarian Emmanuel Garduño leading the group of about 30 with several songs accompanied by movements and dance. Participants smiled and joined in, and later remarked that the music helped energize them in the morning. The group then was welcomed by Miguel Salazar, Diocesan Director of Hispanic Ministry, who explained the day's twofold goal of evangelization and reflection, in union with the national V Encuentro process. Together the participants jojned in prayer, offering their petitions to God along with the national encuentro prayer.
Then the first presentation on Discipleship was shared by parishioner Julio Lara, who encouraged the participants to reflect on their Discipleship with Christ, based on examples of disciples in Scripture. "Are you living your discipleship like Judas, who betrayed Christ and despaired? Or are you living like St. Peter, who betrayed Christ, yes, but then repented?" Many in the room acknowledged that the talk touched them personally and challenged them to walk closer with Christ.
Another leader in the community, Raymundo Sanchez, delivered the second presentation, which was on bearing daily fruits as a missionary. He recalled the scripture story of Zacheeus, who responded to Jesus' mercy by giving to the poor and making restitution for his past sins. He pointed out that we too must let our encounter with Christ produce fruits of generosity and mercy, as when Raymundo shared he once invited a poor family to eat with him at a restaurant, and the owner unexpectedly paid for half the bill. This example from his life experience helped illustrate how when we give generously, God multiples our witness and softens hard hearts.
After each presentation, the participants discussed in small groups and then shared their thoughts as a whole. Discussion especially was orientated toward furthering the parish as a community of missionary-disciples. Notes were taken for later analysis and reflection towards the development of a parish pastoral plan for Hispanic ministry.
Volunteers of the Equipo Parroquial spent many months in preparation for this day, and put lots of hard work into preparing food, organizing child care, writing talks, and inviting parishioners. Cathy Hernandez, as the DRE, was especially instrumental in the days success, particularly in organizing the cuidado de niños. There were many smiles, tears, and new friendships shared at the Encuentro, and parish leaders look forward to continued reflection on their experiences. The joyous day ended in confession and mass, with Fr Andres Moreno at the parish church.
Director del Ministerio Hispano
Jesus Lover. Pope follower. Latino family.