Members of CELAM met with the Pope on 19 February 2022 Members of CELAM met with the Pope on 19 February 2022 

Pope to CELAM: May all you build serve the common good

Pope Francis sends a message to members of the Latin American bishops as they open their plenary meeting, to inaugurate a new office building, urging them to use it for the common good.

By Francesca Merlo

On the occasion of the blessing and inauguration of the new headquarters of CELAM (Latin American Episcopal Council), on 12 July, in Bogotá, Colombia, Pope Francis sent a message to the members of the council, in which he thanked each of them for their letter, which he said involved him in the event.

A project of evangelisation

In his message, the Pope wrote that "while I invite you to give thanks to God for the successful conclusion of this material work, which can be of help in carrying out projects of evangelisation and pastoral formation in support of the Bishops' Conferences, it is appropriate for us to bear in mind that if the Lord does not build the house in vain do the builders labour in it."

With this in mind, the Pope noted that "as a community of disciples built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, and having Christ Jesus himself as the cornerstone, we feel the constant need to implore the Risen Lord to give impetus and strengthen the ecclesial mission with the power of his Holy Spirit, so that we may be ready to discern the signs of the times and to respond, from the perspective of faith, hope and charity, to the needs of God's faithful People."

Material structures must be for the good of others

But we must not forget that our material structures only make sense when they are intended for the service, of those who "inhabit the most extreme peripheries of life." 

"Remember to be vigilant in the face of the three idolatries that always threaten the path of God's faithful people," said the Pope.

These are spiritual mediocrity, the pragmatism of numbers, and the functionalism that leads us to be more enthusiastic about the route map than the route itself. "These are temptations that do not tolerate mystery and aim at effectiveness," he added. 

Finally, Pope Francis asked that the members present extend his gratitude to all those who collaborated in the realisation of this project, and entrusted them to the protection of the Blessed Virgin. 

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12 July 2022, 17:30