March 2: This week’s top U.S.-Latino Catholic news

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At America, we are committed to fostering meaningful conversations about the future sustainability and growth of the U.S. Catholic Church, giving particular attention to Hispanic Catholics. This newsletter is a tool for that conversation.

Each week, it will highlight news, culture and trends related to Latino Catholics. The terms“Latino” and “Hispanic” are themselves simplifications. To fully understand what is emerging in the United States requires us to live together. This newsletter is an effort to give a fuller picture of the new life that is unfolding before us. To receive this important expert analysis in your inbox, sign up here. 

V Encuentro: How to reach fallen-away Latino Catholics

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Last weekend, hundreds gathered for regional Encuentro meetings in Miami, Fla., and Phoenix, Ariz. V Encuentro is a four-year process that embodies Pope Francis’ call to become a church of missionary disciples.

In Phoenix, representatives from 10 dioceses in five states sent delegates to share what they had discovered at the parish and diocesan levels. Encuentro, which means “encounter,” challenges participants to reach out to those who are on the periphery of the church and society.

“People are really engaging in the process. They’re really hoping that something concrete happens as a result,” said Ignacio Rodriguez, the associate director of ethnic ministries for the Diocese of Phoenix. “People are already experiencing conversions.”

Through the Encuentro process, the church hopes to better understand the needs of the growing Hispanic community in the United States. A larger gathering this September will bring 3,000 Latino ministry leaders from across the country to the city of Grapevine, a few miles northwest of Dallas. The V Encuentro project will continue through 2020, sharing the fruits of consultation.

What about the Dreamers?

This week,Catholic News Service reported that 45,000 calls were made to members of Congress during a national call-in for Dreamers organized bythe U.S. bishops. An estimated 800,000 Dreamers, undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors, have been allowed to stay in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an Obama administration policy that protected them from deportation.

Last September, the Trump administration announced the policy was to end on March 5. On Feb. 26, the Supreme Court declined to hear a challenge to two lower-court decisions that have temporarily blocked the Trump administration from terminating DACA.

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles, vice president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said the Supreme Court’s action, while granting a reprieve, still leaves Dreamers facing an uncertain future.

“Now is the time to pass legislation that enables the Dreamers to become citizens and full contributing members of our society,” he said. “It is long past time for members of Congress to take their responsibilities seriously—seriously enough that they are willing to act with courage to negotiate and seek compromises and resist the temptation to keep using this issue for political advantage.”

As they rallied for Dreamers, dozens of Catholics, including religious sisters, were arrested near the U.S. Capitol on Feb. 27 in the rotunda of a Senate building in Washington. Yet these efforts appear to be falling on deaf ears. Yesterday, in aninterview with National Public Radio, Senator Dick Durbin, a Democrat of Illinois, said the midterm elections in November would determine the fate of the Dreamers.

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Art for Catholic education

The Saint Ann Latino Contemporary Art Auction is raising money to help Latino children attend Catholic school in South Florida, according to the Naples News Daily.

Fourteen artists will share the proceeds of sales of the March 7 auction to benefit Catholic education while raising awareness of their work. The event is invitation-only.

Don’t miss: Michael O’Loughlin writes about thekey phrase that helps Catholics understand our first Latin American pope.

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Your brother in Christ,

J.D. Long-García

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