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Sign language interpreting services provided.

Building a Catholic Culture of Encounter

Saturday, November 3, 2018
8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. | St. Mary’s University
(1 Camino Santa Maria St., San Antonio TX 78228 --  Directions)
Doors open at 7:00 a.m.





Catholic Schools


Archbishop Gustavo invites clergy, religious and laity from across the archdiocese to assemble with him as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. For the fourth consecutive year, the Assembly will awaken and foster a spiritual communion as we gather together with more than 4,000 participants from parishes, Catholic schools, young adults and members of lay ecclesial movements, groups and associations. This year’s challenge is becoming as one in “pastoral agents of change” embracing a “culture of encounter”.

Assembly 2018 is a day in which we celebrate our Catholic identity and rejoice in fellowship and communion. The theme for the Assembly is “Building a Catholic Culture of Encounter” as Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ. Keynote speaker David Bisonó will encourage us to become a “Church of Encounter”, Mass celebrated by Archbishop Gustavo, a series of FED* talks at noon will prepare the way to group discussions by deaneries. The event will close with a plenary session in which Archbishop Gustavo and Bishop Mike will hear a call to action from participants on how to be a “Church on the Move”.

*FED = Faith, Evangelization, and Discipleship

This will be is the fourth celebration of the annual Assembly gathering. Archbishop Gustavo invites clergy, consecrated women and men, Catholic school teachers and lay people from across the Archdiocese to journey, arm-in-arm, as Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ. The Assembly is the embodiment of our recently renewed Archdiocesan Mutually Shared Vision: Encountering Christ, United as Church, Sent by the Spirit in a Culture of Encounter working towards three Pastoral Priorities: New Evangelization, Catechesis & Faith Formation, and Youth & Young Adults. Our pastoral values support these efforts: Prayerfulness, Stewardship, and Unity. We want to encourage attendees to become “agents of pastoral change” illumined by national process of fifth encounter.

The registration fee is $64.86. However, through the generosity of Archbishop's Appeal donors, all parishioners, Catholic school teachers & staff, Catholic university students, faculty & staff and Catholic agency employees of the Archdiocese will receive a $39.86 discount at the end of registration making the out-of-pocket fee $25.00. Registration covers all Assembly 2018 events and activities including keynote speaker presentations, workshops, and one meal ticket (good at campus satellite food locations).

Priests, seminarians and religious are invited to attend Assembly 2018 free of charge. However, registration is required.

Registration closes October 26, 2018. Space is limited and early registration is encouraged.

David Bisono

David Bisonó, Keynote Speaker

David Bisonó serves as Director of Evangelization and Adult Faith Formation in the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He is the creator, producer, director, and host of two TV shows Too Blessed To Be Stressed and Dios Nunca Duerme, and is the host of the daily radio show Café con Cristo for United States and Latin America. He is also a Latin member of the National Service Committee (NSC) of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal.

Deaneries and Schools: Northwest Urban Deanery, Floresville Rural Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to Hearing Others

Description: Listening leads us to understanding. Aided by the Holy Spirit we can create an environment that overcomes barriers to encounter.

Norma Pimentel

Sr. Norma Pimentel

Sr. Norma Pimentel, a sister with the Missionaries of Jesus, serves as Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley and serves as Co-Vicar of Religious in the Diocese of Brownsville. She was instrumental in setting up the Humanitarian Respite Center for Central Americans seeking asylum in the United States, drawing news media world-wide.

Deaneries and Schools: Hondo Rural Deanery, Pleasanton Rural Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to Welcoming

Title (FED Talk): Sharing the Journey: Encountering the Stranger

Title (30-min Talk): Building a Culture of Encounter at the Border

Description: Welcoming is the first step to belonging. If we as Church are truly welcoming, we will be a beacon of hospitality. Sr. Norma Pimentel will share how her local community in the Rio Grande Valley has answered the call made by Jesus and echoed by Pope Francis to encounter the most vulnerable in our midst: the stranger. The work that began as a humanitarian response has transformed the local community and the entire nation by putting a face to the phenomenon of migration.

Father Michael White

Fr. Michael White

Fr. Michael White is the co-author of Rebuilt, Tools for Rebuilding, and Rebuilding Your Message. The best-selling Rebuilt Parish series has established White as a sought-after speaker across the United States and at diocesan gatherings in Austria, Australia, Canada, Ireland, and Poland. Rebuilt has been translated into several languages.

Deaneries and Schools: Northeast Urban Deanery, West Urban Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to the Peripheries

Title (FED Talk): Creating an evangelization culture

Title (30-min Talk): The Weekend – Our Core Business

Description: Peripheries are all who are not fully engaged in the Church. The peripheries are not just those who are homeless and addicted, but includes those among us that are not engaged or are feeling alienated. In order for us to reach new people, evangelization cannot be just a program we do, but needs to be embedded in the culture of our parish. This message will share the key steps necessary to create a parish culture that attracts and retains outsiders.

Marcel LeJeune

Marcel LeJeune

Marcel LeJeune is the President and Founder of Catholic Missionary Disciples. In addition to speaking around the world, he has authored 3 books and numerous articles in Catholic newspapers and magazines, and serves as a regular guest on Catholic radio nationwide.

Deaneries and Schools: Southeast Urban Deanery, Uvalde Rural Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to Encounter as modeled by Luke’s Gospel

Title (FED Talk): Jesus' Strategy For Making Disciples of All Nations

Title (30-min Talk): A renewed approach to Encounter as modeled by Luke’s Gospel

Description: We can frequently miss the many ways our God is revealed to us. God sought us first. How does His example show us how to encounter the other?

Sister Bethany Madonna

Sr. Bethany Madonna

Sr. Bethany Madonna, a member of the Sisters of Life, made her final vows in 2015 and serves her community in the Novitiate Formation Program. Before joining her congregation, Sr. Bethany worked for the Respect Life Office in the Diocese of Orlando.

Deaneries and Schools: Central Urban Deanery, Seguin Rural Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to Youth and Young Adults Outreach

Description: Youth and young adults are essential to our Church. They are a phenomenal life force for all believers. Their presence is needed now.

Kevin and DeAnn-Stuart

Kevin & DeAnn Stuart

Kevin E. Stuart, Ph.D. is the executive director of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family & Culture and serves as editor of the Catholicism & Society book series for the Society for Catholic Social Scientists (Franciscan University Press). DeAnn Barta Stuart, Ph.D. serves as Associate Director of the Austin Institute for the Study of Family and Culture. She has received various teaching awards including Campus Teacher of the Year on two campuses within the Carroll Independent School District, District Teacher of the Year, and Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor.

Deaneries and Schools: Fredericksburg Rural Deanery, Southwest Urban Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to Dating and Marriage Formation

Description: Marriage is the basic unit of Church. Dating is the prime tool for properly discerning the vocation of marriage. Healthy couples and families exemplify mercy, forgiveness, and love.

Father Daniel P Horan

Fr. Daniel P. Horan

Daniel P. Horan, OFM, is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province (NY), assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and the author of several books including the award-winning The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence on his Life, Thought, and Writing (2014). His latest books are titled, God Is Not Fair and other Reasons for Gratitude (2016) and All God’s Creatures: A Theology of Creation (2018). He is the author of numerous popular and scholarly articles; is a frequent lecturer and retreat director around the United States and abroad; and has previously taught at Siena College, St. Bonaventure University, and in the School of Theology and Ministry of Boston College. Fr. Dan currently serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Bonaventure University in New York and the Board of Regents of the Franciscan School of Theology in California. He is also co-editor of the academic journal New Theology Review and co-host of The Francis Effect Podcast. Fr. Dan previously served on the Board of Directors of the International Thomas Merton Society, was the Catholic Chaplain at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and was a columnist for America magazine. He received his Ph.D. in theology from Boston College, M.Div. and M.A. from the Washington Theological Union (DC), and a BA from St. Bonaventure University. For more information, visit

Deaneries and Schools: North Urban Deanery, North Central Urban Deanery

Topic: A renewed approach to Preaching the Gospel

Title (FED Talk): How To Become a Saint: Wisdom from Pope Francis and Thomas Merton

Description: In this brief talk, we will take a look at Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation Rejoice and Be Glad in which he reminds all Christians of their universal call to holiness. In many ways, the Holy Father’s wisdom echoes that of the famous Trappist monk and author Thomas Merton. With these two guides, we’ll explore what it means for each of us to become the saint God is calling us to be!

Title (30-min Talk): A renewed approach to Preaching the Gospel

Description: St. Francis of Assisi is often remembered for having encouraged those who followed him to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ not only in their words but also by their deeds. This is a central theme of discipleship, something that comes up often in Jesus’s own earthly ministry and in the examples of many great Christian wisdom figures over the centuries. The theme of this talk invites us into a deeper understanding of our shared call to be disciples of Christ and preachers of the Gospel.


7:30 AM

Shuttle Service begins

8:00 AM

WELCOME – On-site check-in begins (no fast pass doors) – Greehey Arena

8:30 AM

Welcome by Jessica Montoya (Emcee) & President Tom Mengler (STMU)

8:45 AM

KEYNOTE SPEAKER David Bisonó – Greehey Arena (English simultaneously translated into Spanish)

9:35 AM


10:00 AM

MASS with Archbishop Gustavo – Greehey Arena

11:30 AM

LUNCH BREAK – Group talks start at 11:45 AM (Multiple FED* talks in English and in Spanish)

12:45 PM

Participants start a dialogue by topics. The session in each group/room will start with a 30-min topic-related presentation by a speaker

2:15 PM


2:30 PM

PLENARY – Each topic conclusion will be presented to the Archbishop and Auxiliary Bishop for a Call to Action by a designated member of each group for 3 mins. Archbishop will link these deliberations to next year’s theme “Building a Culture of Accompaniment”. – Greehey Arena

*FED = Faith, Evangelization, and Discipleship

Parking on the campus of St. Mary’s University is very limited. In the spirit of this year’s theme “Building a Catholic Culture of Encounter”, we are requiring all participants attending Assembly 2018 to carpool in groups of no less than three persons per vehicle.

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