Pope Benedict XVI will address attendees after the opening Mass
The history and future of the Church in America will be the topic of a conference held at the Vatican next week, co-sponsored by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America and the Knights of Columbus, with assistance from the Institute for Guadalupan Studies in Mexico City.
The conference will run from December 9 to 12, with Pope Benedict XVI addressing the conference at a private audience on the 9th – the feast of St. Juan Diego. Speakers at the conference will include: Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston; Archbishop Luis Francisco Ladaria, S.J., secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Prof. Guzman Carriquiry, secretary of the Commission for Latin America; Supreme Knight Carl Anderson; and Monsignor Eduardo Chavez, postulator of the cause for sainthood of St. Juan Diego.
Members of the hierarchy from Latin America, the United States and Canada will lead working groups that will discuss various aspects of the Church in America, including such topics as: the New Evangelization, the Church’s role in education, the Church’s role in charity and its preferential option for the poor, and the role of the Virgin Mary in leading Christians in America to Christ.
Fifteen years after Pope John Paul II held the Synod for America to discuss the future of the Church in North, Central and South America, the conference will bring together a diverse group from throughout the United States, Canada, Latin America, the Vatican, Europe and beyond to discuss the history, present situation and future work of the Church on the American continent – defined as from Alaska in the North to Argentina in the South.
According to Prof. Guzman Carriquiry, secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, “We must remember that more than 50 percent of the world's Catholics live in the Americas – a percentage that will grow in the coming decades. The fact that this conference is taking place at the center of Catholicism, with all our American churches present, in communion with the Holy Father, is especially significant for us.”
Supreme Knight Anderson noted: “It is a tremendous blessing for the Church in America that the Vatican and the pope have taken such a strong interest in the faith in our hemisphere. America is truly the Christian continent. Each country in our hemisphere has a shared history of having had the good news of Jesus Christ take root there. In America, especially compared to many other parts of the world, the faith is vibrant – the legacy of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and of the hard work of many missionaries, including St. Juan Diego.” He added, “This conference will explore particularly how Our Lady of Guadalupe's example, and that of St. Juan Diego, can be guides for us in engaging in a new evangelization of our continent, and in bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to those who may have forgotten or lost interest in it.”
The conference can be followed on twitter by following @GuadalupeEvent.