01-04-2006 - Traces, n.4

Bogotà The first conference of the movements and the new communities of Latin America

Together on the Road
Toward Man

In Colombia in March, a first-ever conference gathering 122 representatives from 45 movements, as well as 32 bishops, addressed the theme, “Disciples and Missionaries of Christ Today.” Among the speakers was Julián Carrón

by Aníbal Fornari

In Bogotá, from March 9th-12th, the first Congress of the Ecclesiastical Movements and New Communities of Latin America was held, on the theme of “Disciples and Missionaries of Christ Today.” Organized by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (PcL) and the CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Conference), it united, together with the CELAM president and representatives of the PcL, 32 bishops–among them Bishop Filippo Santoro of Petrópolis, Brazil–18 of whom were delegates of as many national Episcopal Conferences, out of a total of 22, and 122 leaders of 45 movements and new communities from 23 countries of Latin America. Pope Benedict XVI expressed his paternal presence through the message sent by Cardinal Sodano, highlighting the importance of the gathering, and he designated the disciple’s mission as the realization of his own person. The Holy Father indicated two aspects that are essential for the Church’s journey “amidst the persecutions of this world and the consolations of God.” On the one hand, “being a disciple of Christ is not a transitory situation that terminates at a certain moment, but requires that we always listen, learning from and following the one and only Master, without expecting that we ourselves should become masters over time. For this reason, co-disciples must consider themselves as brothers. On the other hand, the disciple of Christ does not stop at receiving teachings from outside himself. He begins to be a disciple through a fascinating personal encounter with Him, one that is perennially current, that gives life to an ineffable relationship of communion and presses him to follow in His footsteps, to imitate His way of life. And this happens through devotion and the conviction of having encountered the true treasure of his life, before which no other alternative or insinuation holds greater interest.” From this arises the decision to go deep down into one’s own charism as the Spirit’s gift to the Church: “The missionary never stops being a disciple, and doesn’t give more than what he himself has received; he does not give preference to his own ideas or demand his own profit, because he knows that he is only a poor servant” who, with generosity and competency, contributes to a renewed evangelization “in all the fields where the life of today’s men develops.”