TOWARDS THE AMERICAN MISSION CONGRESS (CAM 2) – HOW LATIN AMERICAN MISSION CONGRESSES (COMLA) GREW TO BECOME ALL-AMERICA MISSION CONGRESSES (CAM)
Vatican City (Fides Service) – The Second all-America Mission Congress, CAM 2, will take place in Guatemala City, Guatemala, 19 to 30 November 2003. The motto chosen for the event is “Church in America, your is mission”. Below we give a brief presentation of how continental Mission Congresses in Latin America COMLA grew to be all American Mission Congresses CAM.
How COMLA began
Latin American Mission Congresses (COMLA) were the initiative of the Pontifical Mission Societies in that continent. They were organised in collaboration with the Bishops’ Conferences with the active participation of local Churches and all the different missionary bodies and institutions. COMLA developed from National Mission Congresses organised by the Church in Mexico. In 1977 in Torreon in fact Mexico held its 7th national mission congress with the motto "Universal salvation, a commitment for Mexico". The presence of Cardinal Angelo Rossi, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, as well as delegations from numerous other Latin American countries, gave the Congresses a continental spirit and it came to be known as the first Latin America Congress COMLA1
COMLA-2 was held in 1983, Tlaxcala, Mexico, on the theme "With Mary, missionaries of Chrit”". At this event the name COMLA was officially adopted.
COMLA-3 was held in 1987 Bogota, Colombia, on the theme "America, the time has come for you to be an evangeliser".
COMLA-4 was held in 1991 in Lima Peru on the theme "Latin America from your faith send missionaries".
COMLA-5 was held in 1995 a Belo Horizonte, Brazil, on the theme “The Gospel in cultures. A path of life and hope”.
COMLA - Objectives
- Increase missionary awareness in the local Churches of Latin America, young and old, intensifying reciprocal service between the local Churches and from these project mission beyond the frontiers ad gentes.
- Coordinate at the continental level missionary initiatives and activities to be carried out beyond the frontiers.
- Shoulder with responsibility the evangelising mission of the Church of all times, in all situations and in the entire world, "giving of our poverty", forming and sending missionaries.
- Give priorities and assume commitment to missionary animation, formation and organisation.
- Celebrate missionary spirit, popular religious sentiment, the blood of the martyrs and the vitality of the Christian communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
From COMLA to CAM
The Special Assembly of the Synod of Bshops held in the Vatican 16 November to 12 December 1997 in preparation for the Great Jubilee 2000, considered America as a whole, “ was an attempt to express not only the unity which in some way already exists, but also to point to that closer bond which the peoples of the continent seek and which the Church wishes to foster as part of her own mission, as she works to promote the communion of all in the Lord.” (Ecclesia in America, 5).
In the wake of that Synod meeting and indications from the Holy See the organisers of COMLA-6, scheduled from 29 September to 3 October 1999 a Parana, Argentina, decided that the missionary event would be one of the first fruits of the Special Synod for America since it would bring together for the first time missionaries from the entire continent from Alaska to the Tierra del Fuego.
So the 6th Latin American Mission Congress (Comla-6) in Parana Argentina, 29 September to 3 October 1999 on the theme “Go out into the whole world and preach the Gospel to all creatures” was in fact the first All America Mission Congress (CAM-1)
The Second American Mission Congress (CAM-2) will take place in Guatemala City (Guatemala) from 19 to 30 November 2003 on the theme “Church in America, your life is mission”. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides 3/9/2003 – lines 57; words 619)