Pope Francis encouraged Church representatives from Latin America and the Caribbean gathered in Mexico to listen to the voice of the people and to be creative and fearless in their discernment.
The pope was addressing the participants — priests, religious, consecrated persons and lay people (men and women) — of the Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is being held from November 21 to 28 in Mexico City.
“I would like to briefly reflect on two words, so that you can keep them in mind in a special way in this journey that you are undertaking together,” François said.
“The first word is ‘listen’. The dynamism of ecclesial assemblies lies in the process of listening, dialogue and discernment. In an Assembly, the exchange facilitates “listening” to the voice of God until listening with Him to the cry of the people, and listening to the people until instilling in them the will to which God calls us”, declared Pope.
He urged participants to listen to each other and to listen to the cries of our poorest and most forgotten brothers and sisters.
“The second word is ‘overflow’. Communal discernment requires much prayer and dialogue in order to find God’s will together, and it also requires finding ways to overcome differences so that they do not become divisive and polarizing. “, said the pope. .
Francis said he prays that the assembly will be an expression of the “overflow” of the creative love of his Spirit, “which urges us to go fearlessly to meet others, and which encourages the Church to becoming ever more evangelizing and missionary through a process of pastoral conversion”.
The week-long meeting represents the result of the synodal journey recently initiated by the pope with more than 1,000 participants gathered in Mexico City and online.
“I encourage you to live these days welcoming with gratitude and joy this call to the outpouring of the Spirit in the faithful people of God on pilgrimage in Latin America and the Caribbean,” Pope Francis said.
The assembly is part of the tradition of the Latin American Church of meeting approximately every 15 years to determine the major pastoral orientations of the region.
In 2007 in Aparecida, Brazil, where the future pope was also present and the main drafter of his document, the participants were the Latin American bishops. In marked contrast, this one is much more open.
Francis recalled that at the time they were called “to be missionary disciples” and to “encourage hope” leading “to the horizon of the Jubilee of Guadalupe in 2031 and the Jubilee of Redemption in 2033.”
He added that before these still distant celebrations, the synod will take place with the aim of changing some structures, giving new space and importance to the voice of all the baptized, something different from when it was of a meeting of bishops only.
Click here to read the full text of the pope’s message.