At the end of their annual meeting, Mexico's bishops encouraged Catholics to root their faith in Christ in order to address, with renewed hope, the grave "evils" that affect the country.

"Amid the serious evils that oppress our country such as violence, drug trafficking and organized crime, corruption and unemployment, we invite you to look upon this year of grace with great hope," they said Nov. 15.

The bishops made their remarks at a press conference attended by the new president of the conference, Cardinal Jose Francisco Robles Ortega, outgoing Secretary General of the conference, Bishop-elect Victor Rene Rodriguez Gomez of Valle de Chalco, and Bishop Pedro Pablo Elizondo Cardenas of Cancun-Chetumal.

The bishops said that the Year of Faith decreed by Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the start of the Second Vatican Council, is a time "to renew our enthusiasm to believe in Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world."

"This is the year to rekindle the joy of following his way and to give concrete witness to the transforming power of faith."

"Faith tells us that we are all God's beloved children and directs our relationships towards fraternity, solidarity and missionary service. In the conversion of each one of us, the Lord gives us the security and peace we so desperately need."

Faced with various movements that aim to remove God from ordinary life, the bishops said it is important for Catholics to "strive to strongly ground our faith through our daily personal and communal encounter with Christ Jesus and through an ever clearer and more complete knowledge of the truths of our faith."

After calling for the study the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the bishops encouraged the faithful to "turn to the documents of Vatican II. If we read them correctly, they will be a force for the ever necessary renewal of our church communities."

"The Year of Faith gives new impetus to the continental mission and the commitment of the continental mission, in turn, renews and strengthens our faith. May this Year of Faith reinforce the missionary spirit that, beginning with Aparecida, has given new life and enthusiasm to pastoral projects and actions in our dioceses and parishes."

In conclusion, the bishops of Mexico prayed that "our Mother, Our Lady of Guadalupe, the woman who was blessed for believing and the star of evangelization, will be a model and inspiration for all of us who feel the call of the Lord to renew our faith and joy and share it with a missionary spirit to every man and woman, especially those who have gone astray the most."