The Pilgrimage and Meeting titled Our Lady of Guadalupe, Star of the New Evangelization on the American Continent, began Saturday in Mexico City with hundreds in attendance from around the hemisphere – including more than 70 bishops and several cardinals – from Canada, the United States, Mexico and Central and South America.
The event began with a procession of flags of nations from throughout the continent and the world and the enthronement of the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Marian Plaza congress hall, presided over by Cardinal Marc Ouellet, president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.
After words of welcome by Cardinal Norberto Rivera, Archbishop of Mexico City and Msgr. Enrique Glennie, the rector of the Guadalupe Basilica; Cardinal Ouellet introduced the conference. Archbishop Cristophe Pierre, Papal Nuncio to Mexico, then greeted the attendees and introduced a video greeting from Pope Francis.
In his greeting, Pope Francis called on the laity and clergy to fulfill their important roles within the Catholic Church. He called on Catholics to go “to the peripheries,” and he called warned against the dangers of clericalism and self-referentialism within the Church.
Archbishop Orani Joao Tempesta of Rio de Janeiro then spoke, followed by Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM, Cap., of Philadelphia. Archbishop Chaput, who spoke on the responsibilities and challenges for the New Evangelization in America. He spoke of three problems: drugs, poverty (temporal and moral) and ourselves.
Archbishop Chaput noted that moral poverty is “like a parasite of the soul. It leaves us constantly eating but constantly hungry for something more – all the while starving the spirit that makes us truly human.”
He encouraged his brother bishops to take up the enormous work of the new evangelization, while being self critical and examining their work honestly.
Msgr. Eduardo Chavez also spoke Saturday, explaining in detail the historical circumstances and meaning of the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe and discussing her role as “star of the first and new evangelization in America.”
The day concluded with the recitation of a “Rosary of Guadalupan Love” while in procession to the top of Tepeyac Hill, followed by a Mass in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe at which Cardinal Norberto Rivera served as main celebrant and homilist.
Sunday morning, Supreme Knight Carl Anderson addressed the congress on the communion and collaboration between the Churches of the entire continent in view of the New Evangelization.
He noted that Christianity is increasingly shifting to the Southern Hemisphere, and that as it does so, the American model of evangelization, based on Our Lady of Guadalupe, will be increasingly important, both on this continent and beyond. The Supreme Knight pointed out that this process is already underway with the vision of America presented by Pope John Paul II, and now evident in the election and witness of Pope Francis. He added that evangelization by and through the domestic Church must also be part of our analysis of the New Evangelization.
The remainder of day was dedicated to working groups in which various themes of the New Evangelization, Our Lady of Guadalupe, and Ecclesia in America were discussed in depth.
A continental rosary was said in the Old Basilica in the evening, followed by a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York.
The conference concluded with reports from various groups that met to discuss the missionary role of the Church in America and panel discussions with significant Church leaders, including leaders of bishops' conferences from North and South America. The historic Pilgrimage and Meeting ended with Holy Mass celebrated by Cardinal Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops and president of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America.