Guatemala City (Agenzia Fides) - "We welcome with great joy the indication of Pope Francis to live the 2019 Extraordinary Missionary Month" Baptized and sent" and we invite all of you to do it with intensity, in fidelity to the identity of every baptized person, who is 'missionary of the Good News in the world, with the word and with life'." This is what the Bishops of Guatemala write in their pastoral message entitled "Baptized and Sent. The Church in Guatemala celebrates the Extraordinary Missionary Month October 2019", sent to Agenzia Fides.
The Bishops recall the purpose of this Extraordinary Missionary Month, announced on the occasion of the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum illud of Pope Benedict XV, and the indications of Pope Francis to celebrate it, therefore they cite the words of St. John Paul II, pilgrim of peace for three times in Guatemala: "Mission belongs to all Christians, to all dioceses, to all parishes, to all ecclesial institutions", in addition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.
The text highlights that mission in Guatemala is lived in different ways: some dioceses celebrate the Popular Missions, others promote evangelizing activities "following the Spirit that guides them". The Bishops therefore recall, in view of the Missionary Month, some conclusions of the V Guatemalan Missionary Congress, celebrated in November 2018 on the theme "Missionary parish, community of communities at the service of the Kingdom".
First of all they highlight the "continuous pastoral conversion", which requires an examination of conscience "on the commitment many times left aside and contrary to that ‘fire of mission’ that the Lord came to light on earth". In particular mission is sensitive to all forms of suffering of the people, and addresses the different contexts of life: "the impoverished human groups, excluded and marginalized in our parishes, the vast rural areas, the growing urban reality, inhuman contexts of work, spiritual poverty caused by materialism and wild capitalism, etc."
"For the practical realization of the Extraordinary Missionary Month - they continue - we recommend the activities proposed by the Pontifical Mission Societies in Guatemala and throughout the world. Above all we ask for prayer, a renewed and concrete missionary commitment: let us keep the ardor of the mission lit in the diocesan and parish communities of Guatemala!".
In the concluding part, the Message of the Bishops’ Conference recalls that "also the Catholic Church in Guatemala owes its beautiful identity to the fulfillment of the missionary mandate realized by outstanding evangelizers of the first hour of the mission in America", and "there are innumerable missionaries who have also gave their life to bring the Good News to everyone in Guatemala". Among these are the blessed Martyrs Francis Stanley Rother, Tullio Maruzzo, Obdullo Arroyo, Santiago Miller, along with many others, as well as "the testimony of so many catechists and delegates of the Word who must face dangers in their mission of evangelization every day".
Finally we implore from the Lord that may this Extraordinary Missionary Month "increase faith, hope and charity in our journey as disciples and witnesses", and "give new and permanent impetus to the Great Continental Mission in our dioceses, parishes and other forms of ecclesial community life".
The Message is signed by the President and the Secretary General of the Bishops’ Conference of Guatemala, respectively Mgr. Gonzalo de Villa y Vasquez and Mgr. Domingo Buezo Leiva, with the date of August 21, 2019. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 5/9/2019)