Brasilia (Fides Service) – The Church in Brazil is preparing for its first National Mission Congress which will take place 17-20 July in Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais (in south east Brazil). At the Pontifical Catholic University. “It will be a departure point for Brazil’s dioceses and parishes to promote similar initiatives and increase in this way missionary animation in their communities, families and among their youth” Rev. Father Daniel Lagni, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies in Brazil tells Fides Service.
Planned and organised by the National Mission Council, with the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte, which in 1995 hosted the fifth COMLA Latin American Mission Congress, this first National Mission Congress in Brazil has the theme “Church in Brazil, your life is mission”. The goal of the event is to prepare and involved all the communities, movements and missionary bodies of the Catholic Church in the country in the celebration of CAM 2 2nd All American Mission Congress which will be held at Guatemala City 25-30 November 2003. Besides preparing a significant contribution that the Church in Brazil wishes to offer that important event which will be attended by representatives from all voer America, the 1st National Mission Congress intends also to outline and plan missionary activity of the local Church in the dimension of mission ad gentes.
The central theme of the Congress – “Sent to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Gospel of peace, starting from the poverty, diversity and martyrdom in our midst” will be developed in three dimensions: the foundation of Mission (encounter with the living Christ); the Subjects of Mission (every baptised Christian); present day challenges to mission (globalisation, evangelisation and the means of communication, dialogue between different religious traditions).
The programme of the Congress intends to symbolically retrace the steps of the Disciples of Emmaus. So on day one there will be the welcome for participants from all over Brazil; day two where will be a meeting and reflection and day three will be devoted to sharing. The last day will be dedicated to missionary sending which will close the Congress. Among the speakers, Bishop Franco Masserdotti of Balsas and Bishop Erwin Krauther of Xingu on the theme “Mission starting from the poor, the different, the martyrs tot he ends of the earth. Memory and commitment on our journey”; and the well known theologian Rev. Paulo Suess, president of the International Association of Mission Studies, who will give a talk on “Mission, a journey, an encounter, sharing and sending. Prospects, challenges and projects”.
About 400 people are expected to attend the first National Mission Congress. “This number characterises the Congress as a moment of encounter, reflection, sharing and sending, rather than a great event of festivity” says Rev Lagni. “The participants will be representatives of diocesan missionary councils, missionary institutions and bodies engaged in missionary animation. In harmony with the two Congresses, CAM 2 and the National Congress, every diocese and parish in Brazil has been asked to promote suitable initiatives to involve in the missionary debate communities, families and youth”.MR (Fides Service 18/6/2003 EM lines 41 Words: 532)