Diocesan Hispanic Ministry Congreso a success in Gunnison

This past June 24-25, around 300 Catholics from across the Diocese of Pueblo gathered at the Gunnison County Western Heritage Center to celebrate the 75th Anniversary with the first Diocesan Hispanic Ministry Congreso (Congress) as part of the National Hispanic Ministry “V Encuentro” process. Bishop Stephen Berg joined children, guest speakers, youth, musicians, diocesan staff and clergy for a weekend filled with formation and prayer, while surrounded by God’s beautiful creation in Gunnison.

The leadership team worked for months with clergy and diocesan staff leading up to the Congreso to prepare a celebration for youth, children and adults to come together to worship and grow in faith. Fr. Andres Ayala and St. Peter Parish in Gunnison made a special effort as the hosts of the weekend; generous Gunnison families opened their homes to host out of town guests as well. Various parishes took on the responsibility of preparing meals, including St. Peter in Gunnison, St. Joseph in Grand Junction, and St. Mary in Montrose and Our Lady of Fatima in Olathe. A diocesan choir directed by Javier de los Santos led the liturgical music for the closing Mass on Sunday. Volunteers made the whole weekend possible.

Guest speakers included Marcos Chau from Miami who presented “Lay Ministries in the Church” and “The Work of the Christian.” Fr. Juan Carlos Muñeton from Colombia spoke to the unique challenges faced by families today in his presentation, “Families in Action.” Fausto Reyes from the Dominican Republic worked with youth and provided music for the group as a whole. Fr. Andres Ayala spoke about “Discipleship and Service,” and Fr. Albeiro Herrera Ciro presented on “Missionary Disciples in Light of the Gospels.” Additionally, Fr. Carlos Alvarez presented, “From Where Have We Come and Where Are We Going?” Throughout the weekend, Fathers Albeiro Herrera Ciro, Andres Ayala, Don Malin, Carlos Alvarez and Carlos Muñetón, along with Bishop Berg provided various ministries, including reconciliation and exposition of the Blessed Sacrament for a holy hour and a closing Mass. A wonderful choir from Carbondale shared their gift of music as well.

A highlight of the weekend was the inauguration of a new image of the Virgen de Guadalupe, which was blessed by Bishop Berg for all to see. The image will make its way around the diocese as a pilgrim virgin, and communities will have the opportunity to receive her throughout the year.
“The weekend was a success, and I am always impressed by the generosity of our people. People travelled for hours with their families, facing construction, summer heat and car trouble, in faith that the Congreso would be a blessing for their families, “ said Carlos Ruiz of the office of Hispanic ministry. “We were grateful for Bishop Berg’s presence and support. We hope to see Hispanic Ministry continue to flourish as we complete our journey toward the V Encuentro.”

Hispanic leaders will gather again on October 14 at St. Mary Parish in Montrose for the Diocesan Encuentro. This will be a gathering of the leaders of the parish Encuentro process who will develop input for the regional Encuentro in Phoenix, and to select 20 Diocese of Pueblo delegates to send to Phoenix.