.- Catholic leaders from across Latin America are descending on Bogotá, Columbia this week for the first meeting to discuss Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in the Latin American world.
The theme of the gathering, which is being promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), is “Disciples and missionaries today.” It is being held from March 9th through the 12th.
Organizers say that the aim of the meeting is to reflect upon the experience of ecclesial movements and new communities in the formation of lay people who are at the service of the evangelization of culture. Likewise, one of the major themes for the weekend will be that of social solidarity.
More than 40 movements and new communities in Latin America are scheduled to be represented during the weekend, accompanied by bishops who have apostolic responsibility for the groups.
All 22 Latin American episcopal conferences are due to be represented.
The meeting will conclude Sunday afternoon with a Eucharistic celebration which all members of movements and new communities in Bogotá are invited to attend.
Recently, Pope Benedict XVI called for the fifth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, which will meet in May of next year in Brazil.
Conclusions gained from this weekend’s gathering will be used to help shape the May 2007 assembly. The Vatican announced that its theme will be similar to this weekend‘s: "Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ, that our Peoples May Have Life in Him - 'I am the Way and the Truth and the Life'."