VILLAHERMOSA, Mexico, JUNE 7, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula was the first region to receive the Catholic faith and today, Catholics of the area are determined to renew the Church with the new evangelization.
Representatives of the dioceses that make up this province — Quintana Roo, Yucatan, Campeche and Tabasco — met in the capital of the state of Tabasco for the First Provincial Meeting of Parish Directors of Catechesis.
The diocesan leaders have some 20,000 catechists in training and aim to reach a quarter of a million youth in 300 parishes to strengthen their faith and to instill in them a notable Catholic identity.
Unlike in other areas of Mexico, which is about 80% Catholic, the faithful of the Yucatan region make up just over 60% of the population.
The meeting of 3,300 catechists began last Sunday, headed by the bishops of the region.
The prelates explained at a press conference that the Church considers catechesis a process of learning the Gospel, which begins with children, but which must be kept up through adulthood so that Christian values and principles are chosen over violence and evil.
“God cannot and must not be removed from society, because if he is, where will ethical values be founded?” asked the archbishop of Yucatan, Emilio Carlos Berlie Belaunzarán.
Though the province already has more than 20,000 catechists, the intention is to increase that number by 2015 in order to expand the areas of evangelization.
“The plan is that each catechist have a ministry,” the bishops announced. “The catechist will be a pastor, a minister; the Church will have a stronger leadership, which will be one of the pillars of evangelization — as it already is, but now it will be so officially.”