Mexican Bishops Join Bicentenary Celebration

Pastoral Letter Offers Guidance as Nation Marks 200th Anniversary

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MEXICO CITY, SEPT. 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- As Mexico marks this month its 200th anniversary of independence, the nation’s bishops have joined in guiding the celebrations.

The Conference of the Mexican Episcopate presented Monday a pastoral letter on “commemorating our history from the standpoint of faith” and “committing ourselves today to our homeland.”

Sept. 16 is Mexican Independence Day.

“We want to serve the nation collaborating in the construction of a cultural project from the standpoint of faith, and together with all the Mexican people we also want to be protagonists in the construction of a future of hope for our country,” the bishops affirmed.

The 72-page letter begins by taking a “glance at history from the standpoint of faith.” This section points out how faith in Christ has been a key element in the gradual building-up of Mexico. The bishops particularly note how Our Lady of Guadalupe’s appearances in Mexico and the consequent devotion to her became a seed of reconciliation and fraternity that has continued to play a role in the most significant events of Mexico’s history.

“It is a founding event of our national identity,” the bishops affirm.

Mexican First Lady Margarita Zavala attended the presentation of the letter, along with other government and Church officials, including Archbishop Carlos Aguiar Retes of Tlalnepantla, the president of CEM.

Participating

The second part of the letter asserts that Mexico needs a cultural project at the service of the nation, which will foster the legitimate longing for liberty and justice, as well as the Christian conviction that moves people to work in favor of individual and social human promotion with a transcendent perspective, and a pluralistic dialogue with all the ideologies that seek human development.
 
The third part of the letter, on a “future with hope,” invites all to “renew our awareness of the responsibility we have given the challenges the present offers us.”
 
In this connection, the bishops expressed their commitment to continue collaborating in building up the homeland, “convinced that all of us must be protagonists and not just spectators.”

3 priorities

Mexico’s bishops propose three fundamental priorities in the path of development: attacking poverty, providing integral and high-quality education to everyone, and working for reconciliation and harmony in the society.
 
They offer the service of the Church particularly for the priority of reconciliation, and they appeal to everyone “to close the doors to any temptation to undertake violence that only causes death, delay and destruction.”
 
At the end of the document, the bishops also warned that society repudiates and the Church calls to conversion “those who seek to sow a state of fear and death, through illicit activities and crimes that put at risk everything we have attained in our historical journey, such as liberty and democratic institutions.”
 
The pastoral letter concludes that “Mexico is a great nation with a providential history and vocation, a nation blessed by God, which must continue on its path, always unfinished, toward its own development, in fraternal collaboration with other nations of the American continent and of the whole world.”
 
Finally, the bishops exhort the faithful to thank God for the benefits that their homeland has received; to ask forgiveness for the infidelities of its members; to ask for grace and creativity in charity to stimulate real development; and to join in prayer before Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of our Liberty.

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