Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia). From 10 to 14 July 2018 there was in Santa Cruz de la Sierra (Bolivia), at Don Bosco Salesian School and for some activities at the Mother Vicenta Uboldi School of the Franciscan Sisters, the V CA (American Missionary Congress), on the theme: “America in Mission. The Gospel is Joy.”
The general objective of CAM was “To strengthen the missionary sense of the whole Catholic Church and find ways of renewal and missionary conversion in America”.
CAM was prepared over five years, during which two International Symposia (Puerto Rico and Uruguay) were held, as well as several national missionary congresses in each country or ecclesiastical jurisdiction.
The preparation and implementation of CAM was guided by some themes: the Gospel, joy, communion and reconciliation, mission and prophecy. The hope is that the Congress will promote real changes in ecclesial activities and structures, so that the ‘outgoing’ Church may respond faithfully to God in its mission “ad gentes”, especially among the poor and the discarded, with those who do not know Jesus and the values of the Gospel of joy.
The Church’s major concerns in America are: the family crisis, the contempt and violence against life and human dignity, the lack of respect for human rights, the economic and social divide, injustice and lack of solidarity, the care of Creation, the violence against women, the migratory phenomenon, indigenous peoples, the shadows of the Church itself (the scandals and abuses), the decline in priestly vocations, the weak and relativist modernity, the negativity and immorality inherent in modernity.
Present was Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, special delegate of Pope Francis for the V CAM. There were 3,177 registered participants, who were welcomed by the families of the parishes of Santa Cruz de la Sierra.
After the inauguration session, five major conferences were presented: “The Apogee of the Evangelist” – Mons. Guido Charbonneau (Honduras); ” Announce the Gospel to the world today “- Bishop Santiago Silva (Chile),” Disciples witnessing community and reconciliation “- Fr. Sergio Montes, SJ (Bolivia),” Prophetic Mission of the Church today “- Mgr Luis A Castro (Colombia), “Ad Gentes Mission in America and from America” – Monsignor Vittorino Girardi (Costa Rica). In the afternoon, twelve workshops, four conversations, and five subgroups were held, in which the topics of the morning were discussed.
The principle conclusions of CAM:
– Educate to the joy of the Risen and the Beatitudes
– Go out to the peripheries of the world to meet the “others”.
– Encourage knowledge of the Bible and the Gospels
– Promote communities of missionary life
– Promote the communion of goods in the Church and with the poor
– Promote reconciliation in all areas of life
– Encourage awareness of the prophetic and liberating mission in all social spheres
– Evangelization of the family as a Christian key to social and cultural transformation
– Strengthen a more ministerial and lay missionary Church
– Promote and care for vocations to priestly and religious life
– Celebrate popular faith and religiosity in a missionary key
The last day of the Congress was a “living workshop of evangelization”. The participants met in the parish of reference to participate in a celebration of sending and then, divided into small groups, visited houses and families, knocking from door to door to offer people a word of hope and faith, that is , the “Gospel of joy!”.
On July 13, after lunch, the Salesian Family met to share a time of fraternity and joy. There were lay people and religious women and men from different parts of the American continent who were able to get to know each other and strengthen the conviction that the Salesian charism is a missionary charism and that we are present in significant missionary spaces as SF. For the Institute of the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, there were 12 FMA from Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Uruguay, and a collaborator of the Mission Area.
The next CAM will be in 2023 in Puerto Rico.