The I Encuentro Nacional Hispano de Pastoral, held at Trinity College, Washington, DC on June 19-22, 1972, was attended by over 250 participants. Most of the participants (72%) were men. The encuentro was attended by 8 bishops, 130 priests, 54 women religious, 2 men religious and by 15 lay women and 42 lay men.
The I Encuentro conclusions were:
- There must be greater participation of the Spanish speaking in leadership and decision-making roles at all levels within the American Church.
- Regional pastoral centers, coordinated nationally, should be established for the purpose of research and reflection and the development of programs of Christian leadership formation at all levels within the Church.
- We Spanish speaking American Catholics, convinced of the unity of the Church and of the values of our own heritage, are impelled by the Spirit to share responsibility for the growth of the kingdom among our people and all peoples of our country.
The first encuentro called for a national episcopal committee for the Spanigh speaking, the establishment of a Secretariat (from a division for the Spanish-speaking), and the establishment of pastoral institutes. It also focused on issues affecting Hispanics at the national, regional and diocesan levels, Comunidades Eclesiales de Base, ministry, lay apostolate, liturgy, religious education and catechetics, Catholic schools, and the social and economic challenges of the time.