In a message to mark the Spanish America Day on March 4, the president of the committee, Bishop Ramon del Hoyo of Jaen said, “Rather than a decrease in the Spanish Church’s missionary concern for the work of evangelization in Latin America,” the Spanish dioceses “have always been willing to cooperate.”
He explained that the theme for Spanish America Day this year is related to the theme chosen for the 5th Conference of the Latin American Bishops’ Council (CELAM), which will take place in May in Aparecida, Brazil, and will focus especially on the missions.
“For historical reasons related to culture and to language, the missionary spirit of the Spanish Church has always focused on the sister churches” of Latin America in a special way, “Bishop del Hoyo stressed.
In a letter sent to the Bishops’ Conference of Spain, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, encouraged the Spanish Church to “live true evangelical boldness” at a time in which Latin America “needs her religiosity to be awakened and nourished with decisiveness more than ever.”
The cardinal also thanked Catholics in Spain for their pastoral concern for Latin America “during more than 500 years of evangelization” and he called on them to “continue in this great missionary commitment” in these “extensive regions where the spiritual and earthly needs are so great.”
.- According to the Spanish bishops’ Committee on Missions and Cooperation Between Churches, a total of 800 Spanish diocesan priests are currently on mission in Latin America, with most in Peru (127), the United States (88), Venezuela (82) and Brazil (74).