ROCHESTER — More than 1,000 Hispanic charismatic Catholics from throughout New York and Canada are expected to attend the 10th regional encounter to be held in September at the Clarion Riverside Hotel, 120 E. Main St.
Brother Juan Lozada, director of the diocesan Spanish Apostolate; newly ordained Deacon Jos√© Berrios and his wife Candy; and parishioners and staff members from several other dioceses around the state have been planning the event for two years, local organizers said. Rochester’s Deacon Don Germano also has assisted with the planning, Brother Lozada said.
Deacon Berrios, who has traveled to many of the regional encounters in the past, is excited to be part of the planning for Rochester’s sessions to be held Sept. 19-21.
“They are marvelous,” Deacon Berrios said of the encounters.
This year’s theme is “Jesus Christ is above all things,” from Ephesians 4:5, he explained.
Brother Lozada said that the Rochester encounter will be very meaningful for the local Latino community.
“We are helping the community lift itself up and continue moving up,” he added. “The community is growing and developing and we must help to ensure its continued growth.”
According to research from the Pew Hispanic Center and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, Hispanics represent one third of U.S. Catholics and account for nearly half of Catholics younger than 40. Additionally, among Catholic Hispanics, about 54 percent identify themselves as charismatic.
One of the conference’s goals is to address what he calls a doble creencia, or dual belief, among some Hispanic Catholics who hold on to native rituals and beliefs, Deacon Berrios noted.
“Only Jesus Christ is above all things,” he said. “The rest doesn’t matter.”
The Rochester encounter will feature two main preachers:
* Msgr. Jos√© Malagreca, spiritual director for the Comit√© Nacional de Servicio Hispano de la Renovaci√≥n Carism√°tica Cat√≥lica, according to the organization’s Web site, www.comitercch-usa.org.
* Saulo Hidalgo, a Dominican Republic native who left a career in civil engineering to minister to others through his preaching at such seminars and gatherings as the regional encounter, according to Hidalgo’s Web site, www.levantateyanda.org.
Brother Lozada said that Bishop Matthew H. Clark also will celebrate Mass for the encounter on Sept. 19 and 20. He also will welcome the guests, Brother Lozada added.
Music will be provided by Johnny Helena and Los Amados de Jes√∫s, said Deacon Berrios, who added that there also are plans to offer a youth component from a group called Jovenes de Valor based in Brooklyn.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Organizers are asking for a $20 donation for the encounter. For more information, contact Deacon Jos√© Berrios or his wife Candy at 585-482-6444 or Bruni Mart√≠nez at 585-348-4922.