MOTTO: America on mission, the Gospel is joy!
THEME: The joy of the gospel, which is the heart of prophetic mission, and source of reconciliation and communion.
GENERAL PURPOSE: Strengthen Ad Gentes missionary identity and commitment of the Church in America, to announce the joy of the Gospel to all peoples, with particular attention to the peripheries of the world today and at the service of a society that is more just, in solidarity and familial.
What is the American Missionary Congress?
American: All Churches of the Americas are invited to participate, represented by Bishops, priests, religious and lay people of ecclesial movements and community leaders. The Americas are made up of North, Central, South and the Caribbean Americas.
Missionary: Referring to the identity of the Church, its mission. This is completed through the proclamation of the Gospel and testimony to the Kingdom of God.
Congress: The meeting of people with a pre-established theme to exchange information, experiences, present development or new theories, identify situations, develop projects and make binding decisions.
Since 1977 these congresses have been held every four years in a different American country/city. The Pontifical Mission Societies in the United States held a national Mission Congress in September 2017 in preparation for the international American Missionary Congress of July 2018. (Reflection from one participant: Marta Robak of St. Ferdinand Parish, Chicago, IL)
The Missionary Congresses in America
The acronym CAM (Congreso Americano Misionero or American Missionary Congress) was added to the acronym COMLA (Congreso Americano LatinoAmericano or the Latin American Missionary Congress) in 1999, when the United States and Canada became member countries. The full history is:
COUNTRY YEAR COMLA CAM
CAM V Purpose:
The words of Jesus, “you will be my witnesses to the ends of the earth” are still as current today as the day they were originally spoken to the witnesses of His resurrection. Those witnesses then went out out to share that great news that had transformed their very being. This is what Christ wants for America: share His faith with joy!
The assurances of Jesus: “Go, then, and make disciples of all nations” and “I am with you always, until the end of the age,” because “you will receive power when the holy Spirit comes upon you,” are valid even today. That is why the Church can never stop being missionary. With this passion and trust in Jesus Christ, we respond to the call to put ourselves in “a permanent state of mission.” In this sense, the 5th American Missionary Congress has the challenge of instilling and renewing the missionary consciousness of all the baptized in the Americas.
Cross of Evangelization (right):
CROSS: Expresses the Redemption and Triumph of Jesus Christ over evil
FLOWERS: Accentuate the new life that springs from the glorious Cross of Christ
IHS: Monogram in Latin, initials symbolizing the Holy Name of Jesus
NAILS: Witness to the martyrdom of Jesus on the Cross
RELIQUARY(first class): Chest containing a lock of hair from Blessed Nazaria Ignacia. She is a witness for how to be a missionary in every moment. She, missionary by the grace of God, accompanies the preparations for the 5th American Missionary Congress.
ASCENDING SPIRAL: The artist crafted the form of an upward spiral to express the development of mission starting with the Cross and continuing with the witness and devotion of every missionary who is willing to give his/her life just as Christ gave His.
Reflection Questions in Preparation for the American Missionary Congress (in English and Spanish)