The following is the message sent by the Holy Father Francis to the participants in the Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean, taking place from 21 to 28 November 2021 in Mexico City:
Message of the Holy Father
To participants in the
Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean
Mexico City, Mexico, 21-28 November 2021
I cordially greet the participants in the Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean, which is being held from 21 to 28 November in Mexico City, with the desire to promote an outbound, synodal Church, to revive the spirit of the Fifth General Conference of the Episcopate which, in Aparecida in 2007, called us to be missionary disciples, and to encourage hope, foreseeing on the horizon the Jubilee of Guadalupe in 2031 and the Jubilee of the Redemption in 2033.
I thank you for your presence at this Assembly, which is a new expression of the Latin American and Caribbean face of our Church, in harmony with the preparatory process for the 16th General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, whose theme is “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission”. On the basis of these key words that underpin and guide synodality - communion, participation and mission - I would like to reflect briefly on two words, so that you may bear them in mind in a special way on this journey that you are undertaking together.
The first word is “listening”. 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 to the point of listening with Him to the cry of the people, and listening to the people to the point of breathing in them the will to which God calls us. I ask you to listen to each other and to the cries of our poorest and most forgotten brothers and sisters.
The second word is “overflow”. Community discernment requires a great deal of 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 polarising. In this process, I ask the Lord that your Assembly may be an expression of the “overflow” of the creative love of his Spirit, who urges us to go out fearlessly to meet others, and who encourages the Church to become ever more evangelising and missionary through a process of pastoral conversion.
Dear brothers and sisters, I encourage you to live these days welcoming with gratitude and joy this call to the overflowing of the Spirit in the faithful People of God on pilgrimage in Latin America and the Caribbean. May Jesus bless you, and may the Holy Virgin watch over you with her maternal protection. And please do not forget to pray for me.
Rome, Saint John Lateran, 15 October 2021