“Share the riches of your own spirituality to generate fresh vigor in Christian life in Latin America”

“Fraternally share the riches of your own spirituality and experiences to generate fresh vigor in Christian life in this part of the world, where the Church pins many of its future hopes.” This was the invitation addressed by Benedict XVI, in a message signed by Cardinal Angelo Sodano, to the participants of the 1st Meeting of ecclesial movements and new communities in Latin America. The meeting, organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Latin American bishops’ council (CELAM), reflected on the theme: “Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ Today.”

The experience in Bogotà was one of communion and mutual esteem among the different charisms which brought to light the particular gift that each movement or ecclesial community is for the Church and humanity. The solemn concluding Mass was a thanksgiving to God for all that had been accomplished during those days.
Aside from the President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity and his collaborators, the participants of the Meeting included the head of the CELAM, the members of the Bishops’ Conference preparations committee of CELAM, a Bishop-delegate representing each of the Latin American episcopal conferences and the directors of the different movements and new communities present in the Latin American continent.

The representatives of the Focolare Movement included Cristina Calvo (Argentina), who spoke during the round-table discussions on “Ecclesial movements and new communities: the creativity of love,” referencing the Economy of Communion; and Sandra Ferreira (Brazil), who participated in the Forum entitled, “Ecclesial movements and new communities: how Christ’s new disciples are generated and formed.”

The Bogotà meeting served to reinforce the ecclesial movements and new communities’ awareness of their mission to contribute to the evangelization of the many spheres of social life. The experience made in this first continental meeting will be brought to the next meeting of the Bishops’ conference, (which is centered on this same theme) as the particular contribution of movements and new communities.

Meanwhile, in Europe preparations are under way for the large worldwide meeting of the ecclesial movements and new communities with Pope Benedict XVI at St. Peter’s Square on June 3, 2006 – a follow-up of the first historic encounter with Pope John Paul II on the Vigil of Pentecost 1998.


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