Buenos Aires (Fides Service) - The Argentinean Bishops expressed warm appreciation and support for the 3rd National Meeting for Animators of Holy Childhood and Mission Adolescence held 18 to19 June in Luján (Buenos Aires Province). Cardinal Jorge M. Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and 1st Vice president of the Bishops’ Conference, said the ecclesial meeting was “a good opportunity to renew Eucharistic and missionary fervour”. In fact the theme of the event was “Jesus Eucharist makes us brothers and sisters in mission”, precisely because “the aim was to put mission at the heart of the Church and in the Eucharistic journey which the faithful are living this year” Fr Jairo Calderón Benavidez, IMC, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies PMS in Argentina said in a report to Fides.
The missionary meeting ,organised by the Pontifical Mission Societies in Argentina, brought together more than 600 animators, many of them young, from all over the country even the most remote regions. The presence of diocesan PMS directors, priests and religious have greater visibility to the religious and universal value of mission. Fr Jairo, commenting the number of participants, said “this shows that mission is at the heart of the Church in Argentina and that the educational aspect has a privileged place in the formative concern of the national PMS office”.
The meeting opened with a welcome address by Fr. Jairo and a talk by Sr Maria Teresa Crescini, from the General Secretariat of Holy Childhood in Rome on the theme: “The situation of children in the world”, a documented presentation of the needs of the world’s children and mission commitment deriving from the charisma of Holy Childhood. Diocesan Director of Villa Maria, Fr. Felix Garelis, illustrating the theme of the Eucharist, underscored that mission draws strength from “being with Christ”.
The second day focused on experience. The work of animators in the various dioceses over the past year was presented in an exhibition and various other initiatives. Luis Pazos of the national office of Holy Childhood and Mission Adolescence spoke on the theme “Missionary animation for children and adolescents in the diocese”, and then educators and representatives of different mission realities shared their experience all marked by creativity which distinguishes the missionary efforts of this Church.
The days were marked by prayers: the recitation of missionary rosary was dedicated to the five continents with a significant sign for each mystery. The celebration of the Eucharist closed the first day of work and opened the festivities with folklore performances from various parts of the country.
The closing prayer was held at the Shrine of Lujan, led by Bishop Luis T. Stöckler of Quilmes who is President of the Bishops’ Commission for Missions (CEM). The Bishop encouraged young people and animators to continue their missionary efforts and prepare to meet the challenges which face the Church in Argentina and the universal Church in the new millennium. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 23/6/2005, righe 40, parole 507)