USCCB News Release
August 15, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
USCCB Participates In Latin American Missionary Congress, Launch Of Great Continental Mission
WASHINGTON—A delegation representing the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) participates this week in the Third American Missionary Congress taking place in Quito, Ecuador. The delegation includes Bishop Daniel F. Walsh of Santa Rosa, CA, Bishop Octavio Cisneros, Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, and Bishop Martin D. Holley, Auxiliary Bishop of Washington, as well as six staff members representing the USCCB’s offices of Catholic Home Missions, Secretariat of Cultural Diversity and Collection for the Church in Latin America.
Through the Collection for the Church in Latin America, the USCCB also has provided financial support to the organizing committee of the Third American Missionary Congress as well as to individual delegations with grants totaling over $50,000.
The congress gathers more than 3,000 missionaries from 25 countries in the American continent and close to 100 special guests from all five continents. The United States delegation numbers 53.
The Closing Mass of the Third American Missionary Congress on Sunday morning, August 17, will have a special significance since it will mark the official launch of the Great Continental Mission, through which Catholics communities throughout the continent will work to evangelize Catholics to deepen their understanding and commitment to their faith. More than 30,000 people are expected to attend the Mass at a local soccer stadium.
The Great Continental Mission was called for during the Fifth General Meeting of Bishops’ Conferences of Latin America and the Caribbean on May, 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil. Recalling the words Pope Benedict XVI addressed to a group of Brazilian Bishops, Cardinal Claudio Hummes, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy, told the bishops at the meeting: "We have not sufficiently evangelized those we have baptized," adding that they "have the right to be evangelized by us because when we baptized them we assumed a commitment to evangelize them and lead them to Jesus Christ."
Alejandro Aguilera-Titus, assistant director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity and a member of the delegation, explained the importance of the U.S. participation in the Missionary Congress."More than ever, the Church needs to recognize and live out its missionary vocation. We need parishes to go out to the believer and non-believer to give testimony of the love of Jesus and His promise of peace, justice and truth. Parishes cannot wait for the faithful to come knock on their door. The Missionary Congress can be the flame that ignites the missionary zeal from Alaska to the Patagonia," Aguilera said.