Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Agenzia Fides) - "The particular Churches of the Americas are committed to the mission of announcing the Good News of Jesus Christ in the demanding social reality of our continent, in response to the challenges of these times, marked by profound global changes, which bring opportunities, but also impacts that disconcert our peoples in the cultural and religious context": this is how the text, sent to Agenzia Fides, of the official convocation of the V American Missionary Congress (CAM V) begins, which will take place from 10 to 14 July 2018 in the city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, with the theme "America on mission, the Gospel is joy". It will be the tenth Continental Missionary Congress of a long series, and since 1977 these congresses have been held every four years in a different American country. The last Congress was held in Maracaibo, Venezuela, in 2013 (see Fides 27 and 28/11/2013; 02/12/2013).
The convocation of the Congress is signed by His Exc. Mgr. Ricardo Centellas, President of the Bolivian Episcopal Conference, Mgr. Eugenio Scarpellini, National Director of the Pontifical Mission Societies of the Country, Mgr. Julio Maria Elías, Bishop in charge of the Missions, and by Mgr. Sergio Gualberti, Archbishop of Santa Cruz and President of CAM V. In their convocation they underline that "today mission needs our communities to respond with generosity, creativity and ardor to the constant and tireless appeal of Pope Francis, who asks us to be promoters of a profound process of evangelization in our continent and in the world".
The main objective of CAM V is "to strengthen Ad Gentes missionary identity and commitment of the Church in America, to announce the joy of the Gospel to all peoples, with particular attention to the peripheries of the world today and at the service of a society that is more just, in solidarity and familial. "Go, then, and make disciples of all nations... I am with you always, until the end of the age" (cf. Mt 28: 19-20), it is clear that the Church can never stop being missionary and in this sense, the 5th American Missionary Congress has the challenge of instilling and renewing the missionary consciousness of all the baptized in the Americas.
In July 2017, during a meeting with the press, Mgr. Eugenio Scarpellini, National Director of the PMS of Bolivia, said: "we are expecting about 1,400 delegates from the American countries, 1,300 delegates from Bolivia, some representatives of sister Churches of other continents and 300 volunteers for the various services". (LG) (Agenzia Fides 14/2/2018)