By Junno Arocho
VATICAN CITY, DEC. 14, 2012 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect for the Congregation of Bishops concluded the three day International Congress on “Ecclesia in America” with a mass on Wednesday, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
The congress coincided with the 15th anniversary of the Synod of Bishops for America. Blessed John Paul II released the post-Synod exhortation, entitled “Ecclesia in America”, in 1999.
Recalling the events of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary to Blessed Juan Diego, Cardinal Ouellet said that despite the incredulity of many, including the local bishop at that time, grace inevitably prevailed to “open America to the Gospel.”
“We are witnesses that the People of God journeying in America is saying “yes” to the call of this Year of Faith. We have hastened to this meeting to revive the gift of faith which we received 500 years ago, and we want to be witnesses of it in unity, given that this gift is the most precious inheritance that has united South and North America since its origins,” Cardinal Ouellet said.
The Canadian prelate, who referred to the Virgin of Guadalupe as the “Empress of America” and the “Star of the New Evangelization”, stated that Congress has helped to rediscover her. “That is why our soul glorifies the Lord with her, because He has looked upon the poor, which we are, and by her maternal intercession, has touched us and renewed us. We are ready to take the message of the Gospel with new ardor, with new methods and in a new language,” he said.
Cardinal Ouellet called on the participants of the three day congress to go forth and be witness of the truth of the Gospel, saying that the unity of the Church “transcends the borders of all races, cultures and social conditions.”
“The continent that has grown under the sign of Christ the King and under the staff of Peter must transmit and spread its faith to be faithful to itself. The poor anxiously await this witness which must be manifested in sincere charity, fraternity and effective solidarity with the least privileged,” the Cardinal said.
Citing the examples of St. Rose of Lima and St. Kateri Tekakwitha, Cardinal Ouellet prayed that the lives of these two saints would unite the faithful not only in North and South America, “but to radiate the Catholic faith in the whole world.”
“A throng of other men and women saints have preceded us on the path of the Gospel in America; let us invoke them with one heart so that their passion of love, their passion for Christ, may continue to win souls thirsty for hope and liberation,” he said.
Cardinal Ouellet concluded his homily, inviting participants of the International Congress to place the work of the New Evangelization of the Americas into the hands of the Blessed Virgin of Guadalupe. “In face of the immense needs of the New Evangelization, our possibilities are poor, but our faith is great. May that faith increase even more today and in every communion with the Body of the Risen Christ who makes us participants in his victory,” the Cardinal said.
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For the full text of Cardinal Ouellet’s homily, go to: