(Honduras) – The III Congress of the Lay Missionaries of the Province of Central America was held in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, from 2 to 6 July 2018, in an atmosphere of great cordial and fraternal participation. The Congress is attended by 33 lay people and 7 professed. The two previous ones were held in Costa Rica (1997) and in Honduras (2013). The theme chosen this time was: “Lay, witnesses of the Redeemer, in solidarity with the mission, in a wounded world”.
We had representatives from Redemptorist parishes in Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, in addition to the itinerant missionary team and the Oblates. Unfortunately, it was not possible to have the presence of brothers from Nicaragua and Belize.
We have decided to strengthen our Redemptorist identity and the sense of belonging to the Congregation, through a greater knowledge of it (charism and spirituality, organization and structure, saints and blessed, the steps that are taking place in the challenge of the shared mission between professed and lay people ), strengthen the provincial communion, share life experiences in our service and plan concrete actions of work for each parish and province.
The emphasis of the reflections was the life in the community of the Congregation. The Province Directory was shared, approved in January 2017 and concrete decisions were made for its implementation. The Council is focused on the integral formation of the lay faithful who serve the Church, seeking to be authentic disciples of Jesus, and by going out make disciples for him (cf. M 3:14).
Echoing the message of the XXV General Chapter of the Congregation, “We have no right to proclaim Jesus as our Lord and our God if we do not touch their wounds (cf. Jn 20: 27),” on the last day of the Congress participants left the comfort of the meeting venue. They visited other people in situations of prostration and sick people in extreme poverty and neglect, who accompanied us for a few hours and with whom we share some material help provided by the participants. This experience had a strong impact on us and we decided to incorporate it in our future meetings.
This experience of the communion of lay and professed people, to form a community that walks together and wants to assume its shared responsibility in the shared mission, is what we want in each of the units of our Congregation.
Mons. Angelo Garachana, C.M.F., the bishop of the diocese of San Pedro Sula presided over the Mass which was concelebrated by the priests who took part in the Congress. Later we shared a Gaudeamus, in which the delegations of each country showed their artistic skills and folklore.
We thank the Lord who entrusted us with His mission, through St. Alphonsus who intercedes for the communion and perseverance of his children and Mother of Perpetual Help, who is our faithful companion on the way.
José Antonio Hidalgo,