The prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, said this week the “Great Continental Mission” that will be launched at the end of the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council “should be born of our openness to the urging of the Holy Spirit and should thus constitute a new Pentecost.”
During his intervention on Thursday, the cardinal called the Conference “a unique opportunity that Jesus Christ offers us to plan a Great Continental Mission” in Latin America, which “will demand the decisive action of the bishops’ conferences, of dioceses, of parishes and of all forms of associations of the faithful.”
Recalling the words of Pope Benedict XVI during his meeting with the bishops of Brazil, Cardinal Hummes said the Holy Father told them, “We have not sufficiently evangelized those we have baptized,” and they “have the right to be evangelized by us because when we baptized them we assume a commitment to evangelize them and lead them to Jesus Christ.”
“Thus a Great Continental Mission to go in search of these poorly evangelized Catholics. It’s not a form of proselytism or of anti-ecumenism, because we’re talking about those whom we have baptized,” the cardinal stated.
During a press conference later on, Cardinal Hummes emphasized that “the mission must begin now. We’ll need to make adjustments, but the process should begin immediately. It has no end date. It should continue and become part of the dynamic daily life of Catholic communities. It should be something permanent.” The mission will not consist of “only door-to-door visits, but will reach out to all of society and all sectors,” he said.
“We should find ways for the laity to bear witness with their lives and their example, and also with their words, to coherence with the Gospel,” the cardinal continued. “Words serve to explain why a missionary acts and lives in this way. The methodology should be quite different depending on the environment,” he added. “Communities should be born of the Eucharist, where the word of God is lived out intensely, in order to awaken the faith anew. The support of communities will be essential. We want to go in search of our baptized,” Cardinal Hummes said in conclusion.