On Dec. 12, 7:30 p.m., Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger will celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe and the culmination of the Diocese of Albany's participation in the local level of the fifth national Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry with a bilingual Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany.

An initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Encuentro is a process of evangelization, consultation and mission that was launched last year to discern ways for the Church in the United States to better respond to the growing Latino presence and help Hispanic Catholics strengthen their Christian identity and their response as missionary disciples for the larger Church.

Seven parishes in the Diocese have been journeying through the Encuentro experience: St. Anthony's in Schenectady, St. Anthony's in Troy, St. Edward the Confessor in Clifton Park, St. Clement's in Saratoga Springs, St. Joseph's in Stuyvesant Falls, St. Mary's in Amsterdam and the Shrine Church of Our Lady of the Americas in Albany, a mission of Blessed Sacrament parish.

The seven parishes have been holding faith formation classes and other events to focus on the Encuentro theme of "Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God's Love."

In addition to the Dec. 12 local celebration, there will be a regional celebration in Albany in June and a national celebration in Dallas in September. For more information, see https://vencuentro.org.