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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 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

Keynote Presentation: Becoming the Culture We Want to See
Description: The question of the culture of encounter has become something I have been praying for deeply and desperately. In and through his grace God has placed us where we are so that we can be of impact to those we encounter on a daily basis. Our calling as sons and daughters of God is not only powerful and strategical, but it is also geographical. When we are where we should be, living how we should, amazing things happen! Our lives become effective conduits of God grace, mercy and power. How can we do this? What can we do so that our lives cooperate with Gods eternal purposes? Looking forward to seeing you and together discovering practical and powerful ways of connecting and drawing all people into God’s presence and ultimately God’s purpose.

F.E.D. Talk: The Interruption is an Invitation
Description: We are commonly told that the interruptions have a connotation of impediment to progress or we are invited to discard them as soon as possible in order to continue walking and thus avoid being hindered by the plans. But perhaps the interruptions are really invitations to fully enter into our purpose.

30-min Talk: Listen, Learn, and Follow
Description: We have a tendency not to listen while simultaneously telling people what they need to do. Moses was only effective because he listened to God and obeyed the instructions received (except in Num 20). How do we listen well? Who do we listen to? What do we do after we have listened? When we listen people feel heard and acknowledged. A leader or a believer that does not know how to listen will end up doing what they think is best, but not what is best. The better listeners we are the better we will become at becoming the culture we want to see. When we listen we gather better information and end up making wiser decisions. When we listen we empower people to speak. When we listen we honor people and honor God.

Norma Pimentel

Sister Norma Pimentel

Sister 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

F.E.D. Talk: Sharing the Journey: Encountering the Stranger
Description:Sister Norma Pimentel will speak on the universal call to embrace our brothers and sister who are forced to migrate from their homeland. A call that has been given by Jesus and has been repeated by Pope Francis. It is our responsibility to ensure that our brothers and sisters are treated with compassion, love and mercy. A tender care that makes them feel welcomed and hopeful. Sister Norma will address this by sharing how the Humanitarian Respite Center has welcomed more than 90,000 individuals and is inspiring the world to do the same.

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. Sister 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

Father Michael White

Father 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

F.E.D. Talk: Creating an Evangelization Culture
Description: In order for us to reach new people, evangelization cannot be a program we do but 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.

30-Min Talk: The Weekend–Our Core Business
Description: The Mass is the source and the summit of our faith. The weekend Mass is where people form their impressions about the Church and decide whether they should go deeper on the discipleship path or if they should even come back. This presentation will make the case for the importance of the weekend and what your parish can do to make it an excellent experience.

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

F.E.D. Talk: Jesus' Strategy For Making Disciples of All Nations
Description: If we are to fulfill the Great Commission (to make disciples of all nations) then we need to follow in the footsteps of The Master—Jesus. He spent three years as their mentor, teaching them how to encounter, accompany, evangelize, form, and commission a small group to go and do the same with others. We too are called to apply these strategies to our culture today and make disciples who can then do the same with others. Practical strategic missionary discipleship is possible and can change the world once again!

30-Min Talk: A Renewed Approach to Encounter as Modeled by Luke’s Gospel
Description: Imagine what Jesus experienced in his culture—division, anger, hate, violence, despair, and more. It sounds a lot like our culture today. Yes, he had no Church structure to build upon, no buildings to meet in, no money to spend, no means to communicate globally. Rather, he had to start from scratch. So, he started his ministry by encountering others and giving them opportunities to say yes to a relationship with him. We have this same opportunity, if we are willing to get uncomfortable. Using examples from the Gospel of Luke, journey through the life of Jesus once again to learn how we can be instruments of encounter & transformation for others.

Sister Bethany Madonna

Sister Bethany Madonna

Sister 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, Sister 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

F.E.D. Talk: The Sweetest Voice
Description: When we immerse ourselves in greater silence and step out of the comfort of distraction, we see Jesus extending His hand and meet the gaze of love we long for most.

30-Min Talk: The Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these... Reaching Youth and Young Adults
Description: Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and is the answer to the questions and desires of every human heart. The hearts of the young are particularly inclined to dream, to hope, to seek and to be eager for heroic and worthy pursuits. In the midst of distraction, pain, boredom, loneliness, temptation and fear, Jesus’ hand is extended and His voice is clear, I see you; I love you; come, follow me. This talk will give practical tools in reaching this generation of future saints for our Church.

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

F.E.D. Talk: Sexuality and Gender: Adolescents in Crisis
Description: We will present an entire curriculum on sexuality and gender research. In this presentation we will look at what the research REALLY says about these issues rather than what the media tells us the research says.

30-Min Talk: A Renewed Approach to Dating and Marriage Formation
Description: An overview of what the research has to say about the major transitional times during the lifespan of a relationship when marriage support/formation is most necessary. Concentrating on the habits of the heart and the skills parents/teachers/catechists can instill in children and adolescents so that future good marriages are possible.

Father Daniel P Horan

Father 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

F.E.D. 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!

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

In an effort to accommodate Spanish speaking attendees, we are providing translation devices for the keynote session and mass. Break-out presentations will be in English, but a Spanish summary of key points will follow the initial presentations.

Parking  will be available to all Assembly attendees throughout the the campus of St. Mary’s University. Special dedicated handicap parking will also be available.

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