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Thursday, March 9, 2006


VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2006 (VIS) - The first meeting of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities in Latin America is being held in Bogota, Colombia from March 9 to 12. The theme of the meeting is: "Disciples and missionaries today."

  Promoted by the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), the event aims to reflect upon the experience of ecclesial movements and new communities in the formation of lay people at the service of the evangelization of culture and social solidarity.

  Representatives from more than 40 movements and new communities in Latin America are due to attend, as are the bishops with responsibility for movements and new communities from the 22 Latin American episcopal conferences.

  The meeting will end on the afternoon of March 12 with a Eucharistic celebration which all members of movements and new communities in Bogota are invited to attend.

  The conclusions of this meeting will be used in preparation for the fifth General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, called by the Holy Father Benedict XVI for May 2007 at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Apparition in Brazil, on the theme: "Disciples and Missionaries of Jesus Christ, that our Peoples May Have Life in Him - 'I am the Way and the Truth and the Life'."
.../ECCLESIAL MOVEMENTS/BOGOTA                    VIS 20060309 (230)


VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2006 (VIS) - On March 7, Archbishop Janusz Bolonek, apostolic nuncio to Uruguay, addressed the International Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, promoted by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and being held in Porto Alegre, Brazil from March 7 to 10.

  The themes of the Conference, said the nuncio in his address, "are of vital importance to the human family and, as such, they also appeal directly to the Catholic Church which ... feels called to support the cause of human beings in all circumstances."

  The program of the current meeting, the archbishop went on, highlights "a need to give fresh impulse to international solidarity in order to face the challenge presented by the development of peoples, and ... a specific compromise in favor of the growth of the rural world in order to guarantee humanity effective food security." The nuncio also underlined the urgent need "to avoid the danger of the rural world being considered of secondary importance, or even forgotten altogether, which would be detrimental to those fruitful elements of social, economic and spiritual order that characterize it."

  "The FAO's idea of once again associating agrarian reform with rural development shows that, despite various initiatives carried out in many countries and incessant appeals for collaboration launched by international institutions, millions of people continue to await results. ... It must be recognized that one of the limits on policies and interventions in support of the rural world is the lack of reference to traditional structures, to moral values, ... and to the capacity for autonomous action on the part of individuals and communities."

  Archbishop Bolonek continued: "Because they often live in situations of poverty and exploitation, with limited access to markets, ... and no support for their fundamental rights and needs, landless peasants and small-holders must be the primary recipients of cooperation programs ... that are able to guarantee real development."

  The nuncio recalled this generation's responsibilities in another fundamental aspect affecting the future of rural areas: "conservation and protection" of nature and respect for the "mutual balance" of its various ecosystems.

  "The worldwide scope of agricultural activity, the use of modern technology and constant progress in research encourage us to hope ... in the rapid and imminent growth of the production and rate of human development. These elements must be evaluated positively," Archbishop Bolonek concluded, "on the condition that they are seen as being an extension of the creation, something given to the human family and not factors to disturb the natural order."

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