Pope OKs Aparecida Document

Gives Priority to Eucharist and Formation

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 11, 2007 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI authorized the publication of the document that is fruit of the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean, held last May in Brazil.



The Pope opened the conference in Aparecida during his first apostolic journey to South America.

A letter signed June 29 and authorizing the publication of "The Aparecida Document" was released today by the Vatican press office. Meanwhile, the ordinary assembly of the Latin American bishops' council is underway in Havana, Cuba, where the bishops are discussing how best to apply the conclusions of the general conference.

The Holy Father's letter to the bishops expresses his gratitude for having been at the conference, "in which I was united with you in your affection for your beloved people and in the shared concern to help them be disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that they might have life in him."

The Pontiff recalled "the spirit of communion that characterized this general conference." And he said: "I authorize the publication of the final document, asking the Lord that, in communion with the Holy See and with respect for the responsibility of every bishop in his own Church, it may be a light and a stimulus for fruitful pastoral and evangelizing work in the years to come."

Priorities

Benedict XVI affirmed that the 130-page document contains "numerous pastoral indications, motivated by thoughtful reflections in light of the faith and the current social context."

"I read with particular appreciation the exhortation for priority to be given, in pastoral programs, to the Eucharist and the sanctification of the day of the Lord," he said, referring to points 251 and 252 of the document.

The Pope also underlined the importance the text gives to strengthening "the Christian formation of the faithful in general and of pastoral workers in particular."

"In this context," the Holy Father said, "I was happy to learn of the desire to create a 'continental mission,' which episcopal conferences and dioceses are all called to study and put into effect, channeling all their vital energies to this end."