a Brazilian Franciscan
Antonio Moser, O.F.M., S.T.D.
translated from Portuguese by Fred Radtke, O.F.M..
Part 1 of a series
The year 2000 already
is knocking on our doors. The Church, more than anyone, has reasons
to prepare herself to celebrate: After all, Jesus Christ, took on
our human condition 2,000 years ago, marking forever the history
of humanity. Moreover, he unveiled for us the face of the Fatherour
true face as children of the same Father, brothers and sisters of
St. Francis of Assisi
helped us to understand this even more fully: God embraces all creationanimals
of land and sea, birds, plants, valleys, plains and mountains. Everyone
and everything comes from a common Father. Consequently, he left
us an exciting task: To carry out the Good News of the loving plan
of God not only by words but also by concrete actions. It is in
the light of this that the Synod for America acquires a special
significance for our Church. Finally, it is in America that the
greatest concentration of Christians is found.
An adequate understanding
of synods in general brings us to one of the concerns of the Second
Vatican Council (1962-1965), to seek practical ways for making collegiality
work in the heart of the Church.
The present synod
has a relatively long history behind it. Beginning with Vatican
II various Episcopal conferences were formed, coming to a total
today of twenty-four in America. Moreover, a Latin-American Episcopal
Council (CELAM) and an Episcopal Secretariat of Central America
and Panama (SEDAC) were formed.
In what is referred
to specifically as Latin America, four great episcopal meetings
took place: In Rio de Janeiro (Brazil 1955), in Medellin (Colombia,
1968) Puebla (Mexico, 1979), and Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic,
1992). Each of these meetings had its own agenda but all had the
same basic goal: evangelization. Something similar also happened
in conferences in the United States and Canada. The positive results
of such initiatives set the stage for a more significant meeting
of representatives from all the American national conferences. That
synod is happening today.
Moser, O.F.M., is a Franciscan theologian from the Immaculate Conception
Province in Brazil. He is a professor at the Franciscan Theological
Institute in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro, and is in Rome to accompany
closely this momentous event. Father Fred Radtke, O.F.M., formerly
a missionary in Brazil, now ministers at St. Peter's Parish in Chicago.)Return to Synod Journal Home