CNBB Matheus Andrade/Santuário Nacional
Aparecida (Agenzia Fides) - "The extraordinary thing about this Missionary Month is that, for the first time in history, the Holy Father, the Pope, announces a month like this for the Catholic Church throughout the world": this was emphasized by Mgr. Odelir José Magri, Bishop of Chapecó and Coordinator of the working group that prepares the animation activities in Brazil for the Extraordinary Missionary Month of October 2019 (MMS). The Bishop spoke to journalists during a press conference on the afternoon of 6 May, convened at the 57th General Assembly of the Brazilian Episcopate (CNBB), which takes place in Aparecida from 1 to 10 May, and during which the MMS has found ample space. "We have the tradition in Brazil, in Latin America and in some European countries, to celebrate the Missionary Month in October, but this time it is an experience that we will live in communion with the Church throughout the world", the Bishop stressed to journalists.
According to information sent to Agenzia Fides by the CNBB and the PMS, Mgr. Magri recalled that the preparation for the MMS in Brazil started at the General Assembly in 2018, when the CNBB presidency appointed a working group, "to present some proposals, which were then approved by the Permanent Council for all of Brazil". Then the Bishop presented the Guide for the MMS, an instrument of formation and celebration for all of Brazil, at a regional, diocesan and parish level.
On the morning of the same day, May 6, Archbishop Magri presided over the Eucharistic concelebration.
In his homily he quoted Stephen's testimony, which appeared in the first reading, and stressed that "today we need Christians like Stephen. Of men and women full of faith and Holy Spirit. Capable of a courageous and true testimony from the encounter with Jesus". Then he continued: "From here comes the full force of the mission. The mission was born only from the source of the heart of the Trinity. God is an inexhaustible source of love that radiates and overflows in the whole universe, reaching everyone with his merciful grace".
At the end of the homily, emphasizing the importance of the MMS to awaken the baptismal conscience of the people of God, Bishop Magri said: "May our efforts to guide, live and celebrate this special month strengthen us even more in the conviction that the Mission renews the Church, reinvigorates its faith and its identity, gives it new enthusiasm and new motivations". At the end of the Mass, the Bishops referring to the missionary action in the 18 regions in which the CNBB is divided, received the Missionary Cross of the 5th American Missionary Congress (CAM 5) and working material, which will then be sent to each archdiocese and Diocese of Brazil, together with the Guide and the flag with the MMS logo.
The same Mgr. Magri spoke of the initiatives for the MMS at the Brazilian Bishops' Assembly, on May 4, underlining the six dimensions that characterize it: meeting, witness and experience, formation, missionary charity, cooperation and celebration. The opening of the MMS will take place on October 1st in the Sanctuary of Aparecida, and particular importance will be given to the missionary Vigil, with the proposal of a concrete gesture of communion between all the Brazilian ecclesial realities.
Subsequently the Bishop focused on the proposals to develop the theme at a national, regional, diocesan and parochial level. After the presentation of a video on the MMS, Mgr. Giovanni Crippa, Bishop of Estância, continued the reflection on this theme emphasizing the unity of the local and universal Church, and the missionary nature: “The communion of each of us with the others Churches, each person's concern for all is constitutive of the attitude of each particular Church. The Church is called to manifest the missionary anxiety of Christ, which has no limits. The Church is true if we witness that God loves not only us but everyone". (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/5/2019)