Guatemala .- The more than 3,000 delegates to the 2nd annual All-American Mission Congress (CAM2) received a personal challenge from the pope to extend their influence beyond the continental borders, Tuesday, Nov. 25.
"The particular Churches of the continent are called to extend their evangelizing drive beyond their continental borders. They cannot keep for themselves the riches of the Christian heritage," said John Paul II.
The assembly, scheduled to meet through Sunday evening, was held in Guatemala, under the patronage of Cardinal Rodolfo Quezada Toruño, archbishop of Guatemala and president of CAM2.
John Paul then urged the members to remain holy, reminding them of the necessary link between holiness and mission.
From the beginning of evangelization, said John Paul, "the Spirit of the Lord has inspired in those blessed lands fruits of holiness in men and women who, faithful to the missionary mandate of the Lord, have dedicated their lives to the proclamation of the Christian message, even in heroic circumstances and conditions."
"At the root of this marvelous missionary dynamism was, without a doubt, their personal holiness and also that of their communities," the Pope continued. Consequently, "a renewed impulse of the mission 'ad gentes,' in America and from America, also calls today for holy missionaries and holy ecclesial communities."
The object of the mission is "humanity that longs for or feels nostalgia for the beauty of Christ," he said. Millions of people suffer, without the faith, "the most acute poverty" and for them "the proclamation of the Good News is a vital and unrenounceable task," the Pope said.
"This congress is oriented toward such a task. Respond, then, with promptness to the Lord's call," the John Paul urged.
"Great is the responsibility of your particular Churches in the work of evangelization of the contemporary world," the Pope added. "Great is the fruit that they will be able to give in this new missionary spring if all Christians and, in particular, missionaries and the young Churches respond with generosity and holiness to the requests and challenges of our time."
The member churches currently exist across the Americas, from Alaska to the southern tip of Chile.