Rome (Agenzia Fides) - The newly elected leaders of CELAM, the Council of Latin American Bishops' Conferences, are making their first visit to the Vatican this week 5-9 November. The executive was elected during the last Ordinary CELAM Assembly held in Cuba in July (see Fides 27/6/2007, 11/7/2007 and 13/7/2007). The members of the CELAM team are Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis, Archbishop of Aparecida, president; Archbishop Baltazar Porras Cardozo, Archbishop of Mérida, Primo vice president; Bishop Andrés Stanovnik, Bishop of Reconquista, second vice president; Bishop Víctor Sánchez, auxiliary bishop of Mexico City, segretary general; Bishop Emilio Aranguren, Bishop of Holguin, president of the economic committee. Secretary adjunct Fr. Sidney Fones, is also present.
The main purpose is to meet the staff of the Vatican Congregations and Pontifical Councils to inform them of CELAM plans for the next four years and to strengthen existing bonds with Vatican offices. The conclusions of Aparecida and the prospect of the great Continental Mission which will be the great task of the Church in Latin America in the coming years, are the basis of all CELAM programmes and projects. The apex of the visit will be a meeting with Pope Benedict XVI during which the CELAM leaders will present the principal aspects of the situation in Latin America and lines of action in the new four year period which has just begun. (RG) (Agenzia Fides 6/11/2007: righe 18, parole 231)