25 May 2017
Guatemala

The WYD in Central America: A Great Opportunity

Ad Limina Visit of the Bishops of Guatemala

On Wednesday, 24 May, we had the joy of receiving thirteen Bishops from Guatemala for their Ad Limina Visit. In an atmosphere of fraternity, the Bishops told us of their joys and their hopes regarding the pastoral care of the family, the laity, and life.
They spoke about the good organization of family ministry in all the dioceses, which in recent years have been very active and produced much material, especially in the three essential areas of marriage preparation, family catechesis, and the accompaniment of people in irregular canonical situations.

They are currently updating all the material on the basis of Amoris Laetitia. Card. Farrell encouraged them to continue in this direction, insisting on the wealth of reflection that has emerged from the last two synods.
The Bishops also explained that, in their country, debates on the gender ideology and the so-called sexual and reproductive rights have not had any particular impact on the legislative level. In this regard, they mentioned the views shared with evangelical groups on issues related to the defense of the family and life, which is a privileged field of the ecumenical dialogue.

With respect to the formation of the laity, the challenge is to help laypeople to be present in the secular world with their Christian identity, especially in the fields of politics and economics, where there is a need for a presence of Christians with a unity of life who are able to help resolve the problems of corruption and violence that are affecting the country.

Attracting and forming young people is a particular concern for the Bishops. Card. Farrell suggested that nowadays it is necessary to invite young people to “do something,” to become volunteers, and then to offer them, little by little, accompaniment and training. The meeting ended with the joyful perspective of the three great events that will mark the next eighteen months: the World Meeting of Families, from 22 to 25 August 2018, in Dublin; the Synod on Youth; and the World Youth Day in Panama. The Bishops, looking forward to these three meetings, spoke about how families are already preparing to attend Dublin and of how the WYD in Central America represents a great opportunity to rethink youth ministry.

The Prefect then encouraged them to ensure make sure that the young people themselves respond to the questionnaires sent by the General Secretariat of the Synod because the Church wants to listen to them.

In conclusion, this visit was characterized by pastoral co-responsibility, through dialogue and hope.