THE CHURCH IN AMERICA
(Ecclesia In America)
Pope John Paul II
We may link to the entire original text of the Papal Document "THE CHURCH IN AMERICA" here if we wish to read it in its entirety or "chapter by chapter" as we continue to journey with Our Lady ~~
SHE ASKS THAT WE ALL TAKE A MOMENT to "Reflect" as section by section, the entire papal document will be reviewed on the web pages that follow.
Let us begin with a very powerful prayer ~~
"Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Your well-beloved spouse."
"Reflections" regarding the INTRODUCTION ~~
You may remember that during the year 1992, "the Church in America" had celebrated the 500th anniversary of the first evangelization of the American Continent. The spreading of the "Good News" about Jesus Christ began on this great continent when Christopher Columbus landed on an island in the Caribbean Sea on October 12th in the year 1492. After the long, weary voyage across the Atlantic Ocean, the Spaniard's first act of "thanksgiving" was to erect a simple cross and celebrate Benediction.
These solemn acts were the first demonstration of the true faith performed on American soil. The first missionaries who were sent across the ocean were Franciscan, Jesuit, Augustinian, and Mercedarian priests who toiled tirelessly in order to teach and Baptize the pagan native Indians into the Catholic faith.
After the appearance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the greatest Transformation or conversion of the people's hearts and minds took place.
Our dear Pope reminds us that the evangelization of America was not only a "gift from God", but was also a serious responsibility!
What about TODAY?
He reminds us now that it is also a serious responsibility for us! ~~ "...for woe is unto me if I preach not the Gospel!" (1 Corinthians 9:16).
During the year 2000, The Church had begun to celebrate an even greater anniversary.
It was to commemorate the 2000 year anniversary of the birth of a tiny infant to a virgin mother in a little town called Bethlehem ~~ the birth of Jesus Christ, our Savior.
Pope John Paul II had proclaimed one year of continual celebration for this historical anniversary and had called it the
The Jubilee called for a spiritual unity of all the peoples in America.
Proclaiming the "truth" of the Gospel to others must become the mission of the faithful and spiritually united individuals who already know and love Christ! The evangelization process must be accomplished in different ways than has been done in the past.
Our Holy Father tells us that the teaching of the "truth" of the Gospel must be ~~
"New" in ardor ~~ taught with the love and enthusiastic zeal of the first Apostles after "all had been revealed to them" at Pentecost
"New" in method ~~ discovering "new ways" ~ consistent with the rapidly changing world ~ in which to present the unchanging truths contained within the Gospel
"New" in expression ~~ by utilizing words and mannerisms in such a way as to ignite new feelings and emotions
To evangelize, is to show our love and devotion to the "Living Christ!"
We have entered into a NEW MILLENNIUM and with its coming, we must become hopeful for a better future for all mankind ~~
for in all of the Church's 2000 year history, she had never before celebrated a Great Jubilee!
Christ Yesterday, Today, and Always
Why had our Holy Father designated this one to be Great?
Had this past year brought with it something special?
As the visible head of Christ's Church on Earth, had the Holy Father envisioned something GREAT?
Since he had begun his pontificate 20 years ago on October 16, 1978, he had been preparing the Church through his countless number of instructional teachings, official encyclicals, homilies and proclamations for this
GREAT JUBILEE CELEBRATION!
In preparation for this great celebration, aside from his
numerous visits to countries around the world, the Holy Father had specifically met with
bishops representing every continent in the world and had prepared an official
compilation of strategies and goals that the Church in each particular continent
must strive for and achieve in this new millennium!
In 1994 ~~ From Africa ~ the document "The Post - Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Ecclesia in Africa (The Church in Africa) - of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women Religious and All the Lay Faithful" was developed
In 1997 ~~ From America ~ the bishops had met in Rome but he did not "hand over" the document "The Post - Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Ecclesia in America (THE CHURCH IN AMERICA) of the Holy Father John Paul II to the Bishops, Priests and Deacons, Men and Women Religious and all the Lay Faithful, on the Encounter with the Living Jesus Christ: The Way to Conversion, Communion and Solidarity in America" until January 22, 1999
In 1998 ~~ From Asia ~ the document "Jesus Christ the Saviour and His Mission of Love and Service in Asia: "... That They May Have Life, and Have it Abundantly" (John 10:10) was procured
In 1998 ~~ From Oceania ~ the document "Jesus Christ and the Peoples of Oceania: Walking His Way ~ Telling His Truth and Living His Life" was obtained
In 1999 ~~ From Europe ~ where the document "Jesus Christ Alive in His Church Source of Hope for Europe" was celebrated the end of October, 1999
At this point in history, the Pope's goal of meeting and collaborating with all the representative bishops throughout the entire globe has been accomplished!
and what happened next?
This great accomplishment had lead to the planning and accomplishment of a 10th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which successfully took place in the year 2000! It had taken place on Sunday, October 8, 2000 (the day immediately following the Feast of the Holy Rosary).
At this time,
there took place the solemn
Act of Dedicating the New Millennium
Protection of Mary,
the Mother of God!!