Holiness Seen as Key to Missionary Activity in the Americas

Cardinal Sepe Comments on Papal Intention for November

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VATICAN CITY, OCT. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Tapping the missionary potential of the Church in America requires full acceptance of the call to holiness, says a key evangelization official at the Vatican.



Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, expressed this conviction in a commentary published by the Vatican agency Fides, on John Paul II's missionary intention for November.

"That the Church in America, celebrating the 2nd American Missionary Congress in Guatemala, may be inspired to more generous evangelizing activity even beyond her own frontiers," the Pope prays.

For Cardinal Sepe, "the testimony of a great number of saints, with whom the Lord has blessed the Church on this continent and in the Caribbean, shows us that the indispensable premise for the particular Churches in America to assume responsibility and commitment in solidarity for the mission 'ad gentes,' lies in accepting and living to the full the call to holiness at the individual and community level."

"Holiness, the Pope reminds us in the postsynodal exhortation "Christifideles Laici,' must be called the fundamental presupposition and irreplaceable condition for everyone in fulfilling the mission of salvation within the Church," the cardinal said.

The Church in America is not only "the missionary hope of the Church," but it is already "the Church's joyous missionary realization," he added. "There are numerous signs of mature responsibility 'ad gentes' in a growing number of particular Churches on the continent."

Yet, precisely because the missionary potential of the Church in America is so enormous, "greater effort must be made to help American Catholics to unite their efforts to give impulse to first evangelization and the planting of new Christian communities among people who do not yet know Christ, and who are the majority of humanity," Cardinal Sepe continued.

"The Church in America needs the prayers of everyone so that as she celebrates the 2nd American Mission Congress she may be inspired to more generous evangelizing activity even beyond her own frontiers," he exhorted.

From Nov. 25-30, Guatemala City will be the venue for that event which will gather the Church, from Alaska to the tip of Chile, under the motto: "Church in America, Your Life Is Mission."

"The Church in Guatemala -- a nation which, with the other Central American countries, unites the North and South of the New World -- has played a primary role in the history of the Church on this continent and it continues to be of great importance both in the present and in the immediate future," Cardinal Sepe said.