Bogota (Fides Service) -On 28 September in view of its 5th General Conference scheduled for 2007 CELAM, the Council Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean, presented a Preparatory Document with the title "5th General Conference of the Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean : Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ, that in Him our people may have life - I am the Way, the Truth and the Life".
The document calls on the whole Church in all its different components to study and reflect on the document in order to make proposals and suggestions through the respective dioceses and Bishops’ Conferences. “The stage of preparation for the 5th General Conference which starts thanks to the impulse of the Holy Spirit who unites us with Jesus and sends us, intends to be the first step in a process of revitalisation and conversion, fraternal communion and vigorous missionary reawakening. This process will be consolidated with a Great Mission in Latin America and the Caribbean which the bishops intend to call during the 5th General Conference so that our Church may be filled with authentic missionary zeal” CELAM president Cardinal Francisco Javier Errázuriz Ossa Archbishop of Santiago wrote in the presentation.
So that the text may be widely diffused and used, it is accompanied by 18 didactic diagrams which Bishops’ Conferences may adapt to meet local situations. The presentation and introduction is followed by five chapters: “Longing for happiness, truth, fraternity and peace”; “Since the arrival of the Gospel in Latin America and the Caribbean we live our faith with gratitude”; “Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ”; “At the start of the third millennium”; “That in Him our peoples may have life”.
Chapter one stresses the need in a new era with many changes and uncertainties to return to the profound longing in the human heart for truth and happiness and to illuminate it with the Word of God. Chapter two thanks God for the arrival of the Good News in these lands carried by missionaries and calls everyone to offer a joyous and missionary answer to people thirsting for meaning, humanity, happiness and transcendence by promoting awareness in the Church in Latin America of the unfathomable riches and dynamism of the Gospel. Chapter three calls people to come to the encounter with Jesus Christ and to remain with Him like the disciples living in the communion of the Church the call to walk the path of conversion to become authentic disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ who heed the voice of God calling in the present day circumstances to be leaders of new evangelisation with that inward zeal which is the mark of the Saints. Chapter four addresses the main challenges facing the Church at the start of the third millennium. The last Chapter underlines the urgency of Christ’s missionary mandate to carry his message of salvation to all peoples and focuses on the Great Continental Mission which will start with the celebration of the 5th General CELAM Conference. (RZ) (Agenzia Fides 3/10/2005, righe 24, parole 335)