Santa Cruz (Agenzia Fides) - The parish, community of disciples and missionaries that our countries may have life in Christ” is the subject of a meeting of on-going formation for Bishops taking place at Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia) promoted by the CELAM Department for Ecclesial Communion and Dialogue as part of preparation for the CELAM 5 in Aparecida, Brazil in May 2007. The meeting 24 - 28 October is an opportunity to discuss the reality of the parish on the continent in the light of discipleship, life and mission.
The meeting is presided by Archbishop Ubaldo Ramón Santana of Maracaibo, Delegate of the section for bishops’ conferences and particular churches; Bishop Sergio Alfredo Gualberti Calandrina, auxiliary of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Delegate for the section for parishes and small ecclesial communities; Fr José Mauricio Vélez, department executive secretary.
Cardinal Julio Terrazas, Archbishop of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, welcomed the participating Bishops from all over south America with the wish that their reflection on the parish would sustain and strengthen particular Churches on the path to CEALM 5.
Bishop Sergio Alfredo said "the present day time of instability and change causes uncertainty and disorientation and in the case of the parish, doubts with regard to its identity and validity". During the meeting "with the help of experts we will reflect and discuss our experience of the parish as a privileged place for the formation of disciples and missionaries, of Christians who have found Christ and are actively involved in the ecclesial community and bear witness to God in life and in society".
It emerged also that the auspicated renewal of the parish “will come not from opportune pastoral initiatives, however useful, or programmes elaborated in the office. Like the apostolic model in the Acts of the Apostles, the parish rediscovers itself in the encounter with Christ, especially in the Eucharist. From constant union with Christ the parish draws strength for tireless service of others, the poor in particular, for whom the parish is often the only point of reference". (RG) (Agenzia Fides 25/10/2006; righe 28, parole 370)