AMERICA/MEXICO - Bishops start plenary with an appeal for disaster victims in Tabasco and Chiapas: “in this tragedy we see a call to unity and solidarity, a call to act as brothers"

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Lago di Guadalupe (Agenzia Fides) - The Bishops of Mexico are holding their 84th plenary assembly 12 - 16 November to reflect on the Conference in Aparecida in view of encouraging new evangelisation, conversion of pastoral workers, the missionary dimension as essential for being Church and the responsibility of various Bishops' Conference Commissions.
The plenary opened with a solemn celebration of the Eucharist celebrated at the National Basilica of di Guadalupe, presided by Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pierre Christophe, who recalled during his homily the disaster victims in Tabasco and Chiapas. He said the real challenge for the Church in Mexico was to be "a living sign of God's presence in human reality, to announce the Gospel to the world of today and its changing culture". The Nuncio said "it is urgent for the Church to assume a missionary attitude to offer men and women of today the truth of salvation which only Christ brings because he is God". This is a challenge "for a world tempted by indifference and materialism and where many new religious movements and sects present a religion which claim to meet the immediate needs of people but reduce the person of Christ to an idol". He also recalled that "the Church will be missionary if each of her members is aware of the necessity to announce the Gospel to those around him, to transform reality and establish the Kingdom of God ".
On Tuesday 13 November the assembly opened with an address by the president of the Bishops' Conference Bishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Texcoco, who expressed the hope that the Great Continental Mission would bear abundant fruit and be the centre of all diocesan pastoral activity. Bishop Benjamín Castillo Plasencia of Tabasco, and Saúl de Jesús Solís, head of Caritas Tabasco, reported on the number of disaster victims in Tabasco and the contribution of assistance offered by the local Church. In a message with regard to the situation in Chiapas and Tabasco "where abnormal rain and floods have caused hardship, destruction and death" the Bishops said "Catholics are called to see in this tragedy a call to unity and solidarity, a time to realise we are all brothers and to act accordingly to help those who suffer and those in need". It is a time "to unite and show the world a united Mexico able to put aside political divisions, anger and social dispute, to find ways to collaborate to rebuild this part of the country which suffers and asks for our help". The Bishops call for a national collection in aid of the disaster victims. The Bishops conclude: "Let us be present with our solidarity and let us unite in prayer with our stricken brothers and sisters". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 13/11/2007; righe 33, parole 483)