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To my Brothers in the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean

Last 13 May, I opened with great joy the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops' Conferences at the foot of the Blessed Virgin, Nossa Senhora Aparecida, in Brazil.

I have vivid and grateful memories of this Meeting, in which I was united with you in the same affection for your beloved peoples and the same concern to help them to be disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ so that they may have life in him.

At the same time, as I express my gratitude for their love for Christ and his Church and for the spirit of communion which marked the above-mentioned General Conference, I authorize the publication of the Final Document.

I ask the Lord to grant that in communion with the Holy See and with the proper respect for the responsibility of each Bishop in his own particular Church, it may be a source of enlightenment and encouragement to them for fruitful pastoral and evangelizing work in the years to come.

This document contains an abundance of timely pastoral guidelines, explained in a wealth of reflections in the light of faith and of the contemporary social context.

Among other things, I read with special appreciation the words urging that priority attention be given to the Eucharist and to the sanctification of the Lord's Day in your pastoral programmes (cf. nn. 251-252), and likewise, those which express your desire to strengthen the Christian formation of the faithful in general and of pastoral workers in particular.

In this regard, it was a cause of joy for me to know of the desire to launch a "Continental Mission" which the Bishops' Conferences and each Diocese are called to examine and carry out, convoking for it all the living forces so that in setting out from Christ they will seek his Face (cf. Novo Millennio Ineunte, n. 29).

As I invoke the protection of the Virgin Most Holy under her titles of "Aparecida" as Patroness of Brazil and of "Our Lady of Guadalupe" as Patroness of America and Star of Evangelization, I impart my Apostolic Blessing to you with affection.

From the Vatican, 29 June, Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.



© Copyright 2007 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Copyright © Dicastero per la Comunicazione - Libreria Editrice Vaticana