APARECIDA, Brazil, MAY 25, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean is setting a priority: to show people the love the Church has for them, says Cardinal Cláudio Hummes.
Cardinal Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, said this Thursday during a press conference at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Aparecida.
The cardinal announced a new mission that is coming from the bishops’ conference: an effort of evangelization for the entire continent to energize Catholics on the “continent of hope.”
“The mission,” Cardinal Hummes said, “will try to influence every level of society. We must be present in the professional and academic worlds, in all sectors of instruction, health, economy, culture, politics and in the media, etc.
“Church communities are numerous; they are a great achievement of the Church in Latin America.”
But, the cardinal explained, “they have suffered a crisis. We cannot lose them, they must be strengthened.”
As Catholics, we must “listen to people, to make them feel that they are cared for, loved, recognized, in order create space for dialogue, reading the Gospel, prayer, to find answers to their questions and their spiritual and material needs,” he added.
The 72-year-old cardinal continued: “It is not only to bring them doctrine, but to share experiences, ways of living and examples.
“We must not only appeal to reason. We must meet the human person. As we must meet Christ, we must also meet persons, in order to arrive at feelings.”
In order to do this, Cardinal Hummes said: “The vision of the mission and the missionary spirit must be adopted first by priests and religious.
“This will require decisive action from the bishops’ conferences, dioceses, parishes and all associations of the faithful. The pastoral plans of these ecclesial structures must take on the mission and make it their objective.”
“This great continental mission must spring from our openness to the movement of the Holy Spirit and become, in this way, a new pentecost.”