Aparecida 1: Evangelization, Plus a Dedication to Mary

In the first paragraph, the bishops recall the purpose of their meeting:

We have done so as pastors who want to continue to advance the evangelizing action of the Church, which is called to make all its members disciples and missionaries of Christ, Way, Truth, and Life, so our peoples may have life in Him.

The key words here are evangelization, disciples and missionaries, and life.

EVANGELIZATION as missionary disciples

The Latin American bishops have seen evangelization as central to the life of the church on the continent. With large dioceses and parishes and few priests, they have made the “new evangelization” a priority, at least since the Latin American bishops’ conference in Medellín in 1968. (The bishops used the term “new evangelization” once in the Medellín documents.)

The emphasis on being disciples and missionaries is rooted in Latin American pastoral practice; however, I believe that joining them together as marks of being Catholic is one of the major contributions of Aparecida.

It is not enough to be a follower of Jesus; one must share the good news with others.

Pope Francis has made this a central theme of his recent Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium. In paragraph 120 he wrote:

In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples…


Mindful of the place chosen for the meeting, the shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida, they invoke the protection of Mary, the “perfect disciple”. Recalling the Virgin of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas, they ask to be sheltered under her mantle as was Juan Diego.

Devotion to Mary is one of the hallmarks of the Latin American Church. The bishops center Marian devotion on Christ:

We have asked her as Mother, perfect disciple, and pedagogue of evangelization, to teach us to be sons and daughters in her Son and to do what He tells us (cf. Jn 2.5).

Access online here: the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference.

About John Donaghy

Permanent deacon, ordained in the Catholic diocese of Santa Rosa de Copán, Honduras, in 2016. Missionary in Honduras since June 2007, living and working in the parish of Dulce Nombre de María.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization, Guest Writers, John Donaghy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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