VATICAN CITY, MARCH 10, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI sent his greetings to the first meeting of ecclesial movements and new Church communities in Latin America, to encourage their contribution to a renewed effort at evangelization.
A message addressing the 180 conferees gathered in Bogota, Colombia, said: “The Holy Father encourages them to share fraternally the wealth of their own spirituality and experience, in order to give ever greater vigor to Christian life in that part of the world, in which the Church has placed so many hopes.”
Among those attending the meeting are 122 people from 45 movements and new communities; 32 participants are bishops. The rest are representatives of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Latin American bishops’ council (CELAM), the institutions that convoked this initiative.
Among the objectives of the meeting is to prepare the 5th General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopate, to be held in Brazil in May 2007.
The message, sent in the Pope’s name by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, recognizes the effort of these new ecclesial realities “to revitalize awareness of the baptismal commitment and the desire to live intensely the vocation to holiness.”
“Their charisms, pedagogic methods, styles of apostolate and missionary projection, enhance an evangelizing tradition so abundant in initiatives and exemplary testimonies,” states the message.
“As good disciples, the movements and communities are likewise called to be witnesses and missionaries of the message received, extending a hand to other people, so that they also will discover Christ,” explains Cardinal Sodano in the message.
According to the cardinal, “the disciple and missionary know that they are only ‘poor servants,’ whose greatest joy is to serve the Lord and collaborate organically and faithfully within the mission entrusted by Christ to his Church.”
For this reason, the cardinal recalls what Benedict XVI said in Cologne, Germany, in a homily last Aug. 21: “The spontaneity of the new communities is important, but it is likewise important to maintain communion with the Pope and the bishops. They are the ones who guarantee that singular paths are not being sought, but that they are living in turn in that great family of God that the Lord has founded with the Twelve Apostles.”
This is why, the message says, “Pope John Paul II insisted on all being integrated with humility in the life of the local Churches, in the diocesan and parish structures, in which are manifested the different ways of associating and expressing themselves.”
The message concludes expressing “the Church’s hope that the movements and new communities will contribute to give a renewed impulse to the evangelization of all sectors of society, of the world of work and the family, of culture, education and, in short, of all those areas in which the life of people develops today, in circumstances so often not favorable to an integral and profound Christian existence.”