Belo Horizonte (Fides Service) – In preparation for the 2nd all American Mission Congress in November, the Church in Brazil officially inaugurated yesterday 17 July in Belo Horizonte its 1st National Mission Congress promoted by the local Pontifical Mission Societies.
The motto of the Congress is “Brazil your life is mission” and the theme is “Sent to the ends of the earth to proclaim the Gospel of peace, starting amidst the poverty, diversity and martyrdom among ourselves”. Some 400 bishops, priests religious men and women and lay delegates represent every diocese and missionary congregation and institute in the country. During the three day event the delegates will reflect on the missionary spirit of the local Churches in Brazil from three aspects: foundations of mission; subjects of mission; challenges of mission today.
At the opening session of the Congress, being held at the Catholic Pontifical University of Belo Horizonte, a message was read out from Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (CEP). The Cardinal reminds the participants that the “task of the many commissions and councils at regional and national level directly involved in this event of missionary animation is to develop and coordinate missionary animation and cooperation in Brazil to make it agile and effective. The purpose of the Congress is not only to give an opportunity for meeting and discussion, it is above all aimed at involving a greater number of persons and efforts in the direct service of mission ad gentes”
In the message the Prefect of the CEP underlined some fundamental commitments taken by the last COMLA5 – “acquire more acute awareness of the responsibility and historical significance of our missionary vocation coming from the command of Christ to go to other countries and continents to give in turn with gratitude the gift received in centuries of evangelisation” he also recalled the words of Pope John Paul II in the post synodal exhortation Ecclesia in America: “the particular Churches of America are called to extend their evangelising impulse beyond their continental frontiers. They cannot keep their rich Christian heritage to themselves.”
Cardinal Sepe reminded everyone that the success of pastoral work depends on the personal holiness of the evangelisers: “To go ahead and achieve fully these commitments…we must walk a path of personal and community holiness, lived in daily life, aware that we are helping to build the Kingdom of God. A guarantee of effective pastoral and evangelising action also ad gentes, is the holiness of the evangelisers.” This 1st National Mission Congress will close on July 20 with a ceremony of sending of new missionaries. MR (Fides Service 18/7/2003 EM lines 36 Words: 464)