BALTIMORE (CNS) – The Catholic Church in the United States is gearing up for the fifth National Encuentro of Hispanic/Latino Ministry, to be held in September 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas. The effort got a personal endorsement from Pope Francis during a Nov. 15 video message to the U.S. bishops at their fall general assembly in Baltimore. “The church in America as elsewhere is called to go out from its comfort zone and be a leaven of communion – communion among ourselves, with our fellow Christians, and with all who seek a future of hope,” Pope Francis said in the message. “The Christian community is meant to be a sign of prophecy, of God’s plan for the entire human family,” the pope said. “We are called to be bearers of good news for a society gripped by disconcerting social, cultural and spiritual shifts and increasing polarization.” The theme for the “V Encuentro,” as it is known in shorthand, is “Missionary Disciples: Witnesses of God’s Love,” according to Auxiliary Bishop Nelson J. Perez of Rockville Centre, New York, chairman of the bishops’ Subcommittee on Hispanic Affairs. “It is a great opportunity for the church to reach out to our Hispanic brothers and sisters with Christ’s message of hope and love,” he said.