The Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, addresses a message to the participants in the Ecclesial Assembly which is being held this week in Mexico City. He says that “this is one of the many ways the Church is relearning to listen and to discern.”
November 24, 2021
Opening Mass of the Ecclesial Assembly at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
MEXICO: Cardinal Marc Ouellet, Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, praised the efforts underway during the Ecclesial Assembly of Caribbean and Latin American countries which is being held from November 21 to 28 in Mexico City. In a message sent to the gathering, he described it as a fruit of the synodal journey and its goal of being a âListening Churchâ. He notes his commitment to missionary creativity, a sign of what the Pope called in his Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. And despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, he observed to what extent the social and ecclesial dynamism which characterizes Latin America is alive and well, which makes it a âcontinent of hopeâ.
The Ecclesial Assembly marks the first event of its kind, involving not only consecrated persons but also many lay people, including families and civil authorities. A few dozen delegates gathered in the Mexican capital, while the majority of delegates, made up of 200 bishops, 400 priests and religious and 400 lay people, attend the event online.
Listening to God and our brothers and sisters
And it is precisely this broad participation that makes the Ecclesial Assembly the reflection of the synodal path desired and recently launched by Pope Francis in the Church throughout the world. “The Church Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean is one of the many ways in which the Church is relearning to listen and to discern,” wrote Cardinal Ouellet in a letter to participants, citing the Pope’s own message sent on Sunday. And precisely by quoting the words of the Pope, Cardinal Ouellet recalls the invitation to become a âChurch that listensâ, which concretely means âto pause in our commitments, slow down our pastoral concerns and stop listeningâ. Above all, he notes that this means âlistening to our brothers and sisters on the hopes and crises of faith in different parts of the world, the urgent need to renew pastoral life and the signs coming from local realitiesâ.
Then we must “listen to the Spirit in worship and prayer,” he writes, for “often our own ideas fill our minds and hearts. Even when we kneel, our inner life is often filled with our own. plans and prejudices “. On the contrary, “by listening to God and our brothers and sisters, we will know surprise and the widening of horizons”.
Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean
Cardinal Ouelette said he was happy to see that the orientation document of the Ecclesial Assembly quotes one of the powerful intuitions of the Document of Aparecida, signed in 2007 during the fifth General Conference of the Latin American episcopate. and Caribbean. “Faith frees us from isolation, because it leads us to communion … since communion is missionary and the mission is for communion”, he writes, and “synodality must always be understood in a dynamic of ‘openness’, âhe wrote. said, because âthere is no true mission without deep ecclesial communion, nor mature ecclesial communion without an authentic missionary impulse. For this reason, synodality, which is like the dynamic dimension of communion, must orient us more ad extra, to share good news â, and not so much ad intra, that is to say to intra-ecclesial structures and to positions of power. “
Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe
The Ecclesial Assembly opened on Sunday on the Solemnity of Christ the King with a Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated by Mgr Miguel Cabrejos, Archbishop of Trujillo and President of CELAM (Council of Bishops of Latin America). In his homily, Bishop Cabrejos underlined the historic moment represented by the Assembly: âWe have passed from an assembly in which only the bishops participate to a fully ecclesial assembly. He then underlined that the ecclesial event occurs after “a long road traveled together, listening to all, experiencing how good it is to be members of the mystical body of Christ, protagonists and co-responsible for evangelization as missionary disciples “. Bishop Cabrejos prayed that the Lord “open our hearts to let us guide us in a spirit of listening, synodality and ecclesial unity, and to discover what he wants to say to us as the people of God on the way” . He then recalled the ambition of the Assembly to “accompany all the people of God in a deeply complex and difficult moment”, marked by a rupture of communion and fraternity, which results in questions of “injustice, generalized violence, false testimony of leaders who abandon their responsibility for public service, the unprecedented crisis facing our common home “, as well as in the suffering of women” who have suffered abuse or systematic exclusion Â», And in the suffering of migrants who are often rejected.–Vatican News