After 500 Years, America's 1st Diocese Needs New Evangelization

Papal Representative Closes Jubilee

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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, AUG. 25, 2011 ( As the first diocese of the Americas marked its 500th anniversary, the papal representative for the celebrations said that a new evangelization of the continent is necessary.

Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Carlos Amigo Vallejo as his special envoy to the celebrations of the fifth centenary in Santo Domingo, and also to those that were held in San Juan of Puerto Rico.

The cardinal presided over the closing ceremonies of the jubilee year on Aug. 7-8. 

In his homily, Cardinal Amigo recalled that on the Island of Hispaniola, two dioceses were created: La Vega and Santo Domingo. At one time they were just one.

«The Lord wanted the Gospel to reach men in their history and in their own culture,» he reflected. «History must be read from faith, but not pretend to change the faith to adapt it to the history of men. It is the history of salvation. It is God who saves.»

The Church’s evangelizing action «must seek constantly the adequate means and the language to propose or re-propose the revelation of God and faith in Jesus Christ,» he added.

New evangelization

The cardinal said a new evangelization has become necessary, one that will «stimulate further reflection on the values of our faith, so that they are fecund leaven, and configure the identity of peoples that one day received the light of the Gospel.»

The Spanish cardinal spoke of how it is the universal Church that is present in each diocese. 

«A Church with the vocation of eternity, but present in a concrete world. We are united to the universal Church in the strong bonds of communion in the same faith and in the Pope’s teaching, who is universal Shepherd,» he affirmed.

The Archdiocese of Santo Domingo circulated a commemorative medal of the 500 years and the book «Cathedral Basilica of Santo Domingo,» which gathers the history of the primate cathedral of the Americas.

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