Guatemala Awaits Pope — and a Spiritual Renewal

Bishops´ Letter Urges Faithful Toward Personal Preparation

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GUATEMALA CITY, JUNE 5, 2002 ( Bishops of this Central American nation want to make the most of John Paul II´s visit, for the good of their flocks.

The Pope will travel to Guatemala for the third time on July 30, to canonize Brother Pedro de San José Betancur. The Guatemalan episcopate has written a pastoral letter to prepare for the event.

In an atmosphere of thanksgiving, the bishops invite the faithful to imitate the example of Brother Pedro, who “knew how to see real needs, and opened his heart to God to urgently remedy the many sufferings he came across, making charity his norm of action.”

So that all the people share the grace this occasion implies, the Guatemalan episcopate suggests personal preparation, through conversion to the Gospel.

“A ´meeting with Jesus Christ´ always calls for the rejection of the life of sin, the clothing of the old man who has been corrupted by following the lusts of the world, and the clothing of ourselves with Christ, the New Man created in righteousness and holiness,” the letter says, citing the Letter to the Ephesians.

The preparation at the ecclesial level will offer a “providential occasion to meditate on our own way to holiness, on the witness of fidelity to our ecclesial commitments, on the testimony of apostolic zeal and permanent opening given the challenges that Guatemala´s reality poses to evangelizers,” the letter adds. “Such a commitment demands from us a real incarnation in the joys and sorrows, anxieties and hopes of the men and women of today.”

Listening to the Word of God, prayer, the celebration of Mass and reconciliation with God and one´s brothers are the means suggested by the bishops to the Guatemalan people in preparation for the papal visit and the canonization.

The Spanish-language text of the pastoral letter appears at

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