Luque (Agenzia Fides) - "We Pastors, together with consecrated persons, priests, seminarians and consecrated lay people, want to make a more missionary and merciful Church become a reality": say the Bishops of Paraguay in their message at the end of Plenary Assembly of the Bishops' Conference, which ended yesterday in Luque (see Fides, 5/11/2019).
In the message, entitled "Baptized and sent: Missionary Church", the Bishops summarize the main fruits of their meeting, starting with a first evaluation of the Youth Triennium (2017-2019), which will end on November 30: "We have undertaken new paths for closer accompaniment, listening to the needs, pains, dreams and hopes of our young people, who aspire to be true missionary disciples of Jesus Christ and good citizens. We see in them the awakening of that missionary Church (that goes forth) at the service of a new society shaped by the values of the Gospel".
In these three years the Youth Pastoral Care, vocational accompaniment and the participation of young people in the dioceses has been strengthened. "Young people, guided by the call of Pope Francis, show us a living example of the synodal, missionary and merciful Church, more committed to our society and to the care of our common home".
The Bishops then talk about the national reality, the latest social and political events in Paraguay and neiboring countries: "Requests for inclusion and equal treatment indicate the need to strengthen and improve participatory and representative democracy, based on the promotion and respect of human rights and focused on building fraternity and peaceful coexistence. Political action cannot ignore the social challenges of our country".
They therefore suggest the government to establish "a socio-political-cultural organization as a cross-sectoral dialogue table, in order to allow dialogue and the search for solutions to urgent social problems, to live in justice and peace".
The Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, just concluded, "involves us even more in the missionary identity of the Church, which is not afraid to listen and speak out aloud, to discern new paths of evangelization, with the active presence of the laity and the precious role of women", underlines the text of the Episcopate. Another theme touched by the Bishops' Conference is the urgent challenge of education: "Children and young people are the great wealth of our country and their lives challenge us to accompany them, protect them and prepare them, and require better education". Thus they recall the commitment of the Church, which many times was a pioneer of education, at the service of families and the whole society, through schools, colleges and the Catholic university, assuring young people of a formation in human and Christian values. They therefore hope to continue this important and urgent educational commitment, in an ever greater harmony with the Ministry of Education and Sciences.
The Bishops conclude the message by announcing that 2020 will be the Year of the Word of God, a "time of grace" that recalls the 50 years of the Catholic Biblical Federation and the 1600 years of the death of St. Jerome. "We encourage all people, all parishes and chapels, all groups, movements and families to open the Bible, to read together some passages of the Word of God and to share what the Holy Spirit inspires them. In this way lectio divina will burn hearts and will be a source of Christian life and commitment. May every family have a Bible! May the Word of God resound every day everywhere! Let it be announced to all!" (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides, 9/11/2019)