Young Adults and Families in U.S. Military Gain Access to New Online Course in Evangelization and Faith Formation Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love offered as part of USCCB’s Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry

José Amaya and Madgalena Gutierrez record readings and reflections in Spanish for the online course, “Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love” (“Discípulos misioneros: Testigos del amor de Dios”) at the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center in Washington, D.C., on March 2, 2017.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— Starting this Lent, military young adults and families, Hispanic and faithful of all cultures will have a new online resource for learning about their faith, developing spirituality, and preparing to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. The Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA (AMS), is offering, in collaboration with the University of Dayton’s Virtual Learning Community for Faith Formation (VLCFF), a FREE course called Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.

The course is one way the AMS is participating in the Fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (V Encuentro)—a key initiative in the 2017-2020 Strategic Plan of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). AMS participation comes at the direction of His Excellency, the Most Reverend Timothy P. Broglio, J.C.D., Archbishop for the Military Services.

In collaboration with VLCFF, the AMS adapted the five-part catechesis of V Encuentro into a five-week course, with translations provided in both Spanish and English. Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love (Discípulos misioneros: Testigos del amor de Dios) invites participants to prayerful reflection, missionary activity, and dialogue centered on the following five weekly topics:

  • Week 1: Called to a Loving Encounter with Jesus in the Church
  • Week 2: With Words and Actions: Do It!
  • Week 3: Walking Together with Jesus
  • Week 4: Bearing Fruits of New Life
  • Week 5: Celebrating the Joy of Being Missionary Disciples

While clergy and lay leaders on U.S. Military installations are encouraged to make a special effort to invite military young adults and families from the first to fifth generations of Hispanics/Latinos, the course is open to people from all cultures and ethnic backgrounds. AMS certified catechists may use the course to renew certification.

Casey Bustamante and Dr. Mark Moitoza record readings and reflections in English for the online course “Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love” at the Edwin Cardinal O’Brien Pastoral Center in Washington, D.C., on Ash Wednesday, 2017.

The V Encuentro is a four-year process of ecclesial reflection and evangelization calling Hispanic Americans to intense missionary activity, consultation and leadership development that includes this initial level of community engagement. It serves to identify the best ministerial practices in the spirit of the New Evangelization, which the AMS already promotes in its Religion Curriculum Guide, Forming Disciples for the New Evangelization. All military young adults and families are encouraged to visit the Archdiocesan web page http://www.milarch.org/encuentro/ to become familiar with the Fifth Encuentro.

In addition to offering the Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love course, the AMS will participate in the following events associated with V Encuentro:

  • November 4, 2017: A virtual celebration of the Archdiocesan Encuentro
  • May 19, 2018: Episcopal Region IV Encuentro, Catholic University of America, D.C.
  • September 20-23, 2018: National V Encuentro Event in Grapevine, Texas
  • 2019-2020: A new document will be drafted to respond to the Hispanic presence and the call to the New Evangelization as missionary disciples serving the entire church for implementation.

The AMS Fifth Encuentro Team includes Dr. Mark Moitoza (Evangelization), Casey Bustamante (Young Adult Ministry), Stephanie Moreyra-Bartolomeo (Representative of the Military Council of Catholic Women) and José M. Amaya (Faith Formation). The point of contact for the Encuentro process in the Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, is José M. Amaya. Please email FaithFormation@milarch.org or call 202-719-3623 to sign up for Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love.