Guatemala Acts as Launchpad for Continent-Size Mission

3,000 Missionaries Fan Out from Alaska to Chile

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GUATEMALA CITY, NOV. 9, 2003 ( Last Sunday, thousands of young people gathered in Guatemala City’s Cathedral to receive the «Mission Candle» of the 2nd American Mission Congress.

Each section of the diocese lit candles of their own from the Mission Candle, bringing them back to their respective parishes. The Candle symbolizes the «divine illumination» the mission offers those evangelized.

Preparation for the congress stressed three themes: 1) Christian martyrdom; 2) evangelical childlike «littleness» before God; 3) evangelical poverty and involuntary poverty.

At the 20th Central American Vigil for Peace, over 20,000 members of Guatemala’s Catholic Charismatic Renewal prayed for CAM2’s success. Salesian Father Hugo Estrada, Spiritual Director of the Charismatic Movement, exhorted those gathered at Guatemala City’s National Stadium, «to be more missionary every day as Christ asked.»

The «Vigils for Peace» were first begun in 1983, during a deadly decades old battle-by-proxy between actors of the Cold War fought via Cuban-sponsored Marxist guerrillas and right wing dictators. Scores of thousands of civilians and combatants died.

Cardinals and bishops from throughout the Western Hemisphere will preside over CAM2’s Great Closing Mission Celebration Sunday, November 30.

Up to 25 thousand Guatemalan Catholics are expected to attend.

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