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III General Congress of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate in Brazil

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From 14 to 19 July 2015, the third General Congress of the Union of the Catholic Apostolate took place in Brazil, São Paulo, in the Center Mariapolis Ginetta. Its theme was: Jesus, a joy ever new to be shared, words taken from the Encyclical Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis. And indeed, it was a meeting, that brought forth joy, communion and the reassuring of our missionary call in the world, touching the 153 participants from 17 countries as an integrating, illumining Cenacle experience.

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We had the presence of four Superiors General of the Union: Fr. Jacob Nampudacam SAC, the ecclesial assistant of the Union, Sr. Ivete Garlet CSAC from the Roman Pallottine Sisters, our own Superior General Sr. Izabela Swierad SAC and Sr. Carmen from the Marian Institute of Bolivia. Inspiring and challenging homilies and talks, upbuilding testemonies, given by lay and consecrated members, and well prepared celebrations of the Eucharist, prayer times and adoration enriched and strengthened all of us, to throw out again our nets, striving anew for a committed living of our Pallottine Charism. In our auditory we had a big picture of the Queen of the Apostles and relics of St. Vincent Pallotti in a beautiful shrine, which had visited the Pallottine communities in Brazil during the Jubilee Year. They now were reminding us that each member of the Union is a “living relic, a small piece of Pallotti”, as the president of the Union, Donatella Acerbi, said. The days of the Congress were graced by the inspirating UAC music group Manhã de Luz from the Pallottine parish in Arapongas, whose members added much to the joy and spiritual depth of the meeting.

Every moment was outstanding…just to mention some: the opening Eucharistic celebration with His Eminence Cardinal Odilo Scherer, Archbishop of São Paulo, the very fraternal presence and challenging talk of Bishop Julio Akamine SAC, Auxiliary Bishop in São Paulo, and the sharing of the couple Hernelinda and Arturo Zanin of the Equipes of Notre Dame, who had participated in Rome in the Synod of the Bishops on the Family, in 2013.

A pilgrimage to the huge Marian Shrine Nossa Senhora de Aparecida, Patroness of Brazil, in the city of Aparecida, where we participated with thousands of pilgrims in the holy Mass, presided over by Bishop Julio Akamide SAC and concelebrated by many pallottine confreres was for us a closing moment among the warm and animated Brazilian people.

The evaluation and moment of thanksgiving guided by president Donatella Acerbi was a rich harvest of expressions of gratitude by the representatives of each country, and a witness to the theme of the Congress: Jesus is the joy that unites us and sends us to the world. Here are some of the expressions:

“This was a beautiful experience of the international community, lived in joy”, “I am convinced that there is nothing more charismatic than Pallotti”, “we have experienced the spirit of a family, the unity in diversity”.

We congratulate and thank president Dario Ivatiuk Junior of the Brazilian NCC, the Commission members of the Congress, and Fr. Rory Hanly SAC, general secretary of the Union with the members of the Secretariat in Rome and all who contributed to this Congress, the fruits of which we now are called to live out.