Buenos Aires (Fides Service ) – In preparation for CAM 2 the Church in Argentina held a National Mission Congress 25 - 27 October in Mar del Plata. Father Jairo Calderón Benavidez IMC, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Argentina reports to Fides. The Congress, organised by the Bishops’ Missions Commission reflected on the theme “Mission: life and responsibility of the particular Church ”. “In keeping with the Congress in Guatemala – said Father Jairo – the slogan was “Church in Argentina, your life is mission”, and this helped us to realise the necessity, urgency and validity of Jesus’ missionary command which calls us and urges us to announce the Gospel to all non Christian peoples and groups within and outside our local Churches”.
Some 2.400 delegates attended and they had prepared by studying the Work Plan. Conferences covered various topics including: “The particular Church: missionary nature The particular Church: missionary challenges”; “ The particular Church: missionary agent”.
Father Jairo emphasised the work of many people which made the national Congress possible: “We will never forget the hospitality offered by families and parishes in Mar del Plata, the support and help given by the Congregations, the participation of numerous PMS diocesan directors, the silent work of those who cooked meals, the young people who volunteered to welcome the participants. Through effective work of the mass media, Congress reached all the places of our homeland ”. Father Jairo recalls the many missionary meetings and congresses held at diocesan level to prepare for the 2nd National Mission Congress.
During the closing Mass in Mar del Plata 9 missionaries were sent on mission to different countries. Today Argentina has 500 missionaries, priests, religious and laity working in first evangelisation.
The Argentinean Church’s delegation to CAM 2 comprises 88 members: 4 bishops 25 priests, 19 Religious men and women 1 deacon, 39 lay women and men, 7 members of Missionary Childhood and 4 members of a missionary family. (R G) (Fides Service 12/11/2003 – lines 29; words 372).