Colombia: Pax Christi International with SICSAL and allies organises the ecclesial event “Medellin + 50: The Cry of the Poor, Cry for Life”


4/10/18 - With enthusiasm and motivation, Pax Christi International co-organised, together with SICSAL and many other organisations all around the world, the important international meeting "Medellin + 50: The Cry for the poor, Cry for life - Lights and shadows on the 50th anniversary of the Medellin Document".

This 50-year ecclesial journey with its lights and shadows has marked the Catholic church a new stage, a new route, new methods for encountering the life project of Jesus Liberator and the Latin American people from their diverse faces, experiences and cultures.

More than 200 women and men of faith from 18 countries, 4 continents, met again in the city of Medellin for five days, in order to exchange, remember, review, analyse, enlighten and celebrate from the perspective of the Gospel, inspired by the document that Latin American bishops signed in 1968.

This emerged as a great coalition of twenty organisations from Colombia and abroad to commemorate the Second Conference of the Latin American Episcopate, held for the first time in Medellin in August 1968.

According to the current demands, they had the opportunity to analyse the sense of effective commitment and the meaning today of the option for the poor, of the search for justice and the basic ecclesial communities, from Afro descendants, indigenous, gender, ecological, ecumenical, and youth readings, with the most impoverished and excluded category of the society (ethnic peoples, diversity of gender, biodiversity, girls, boys and young people among others).

It has been an opportunity for memory, reflection, analysis, penance and celebration, in which the participants could pass through their hearts the prophetic strength of those who have traced the path of a poor church and of the poor; relaunch that option for the impoverished in light of the current Latin American world context; and look for mechanisms of articulation of the present organisations that allow them to be effective in the development of the commitments that they assume.

Pax Christi Medellín and our Regional Coordinator for Latin America, Ms. Martha Inés Romero, participated in this event and sought opportunities to interview key theologians and discuss the Catholic Nonviolence Initiative project. Ms. Romero also presented a conference on "Evangelic Judgement of Poverty and Injustice, in Medellin 68 and in Church traditions".

The event started with a press conference in the Santa Laura Training Center, Mother Laura Convent, in Medellín, on the opening day, August 28, and followed with an inaugural moment, the official opening of the meeting. Various moments included an act of request of forgiveness in the Museum House of Memory and a public forum.

The panelists:

  • Rva. Emilie Smith, Co-Chair of the International Solidarity Service "Oscar Romero" Sicsal, Canada
  • Dr. Ana María Bidegaín, University of Florida, United States
  • Rva. Olga Lucía Alvarez. Association of Roman Catholic Presbyters, Colombia
  • Dr. Juan José Tamayo. Carlos III University of Madrid, Spain
  • Father Javier Giraldo s.j. Director Data Bank Cinep. Founder of the Justice and Peace Commission, Colombia
  • Bishop Don Raúl Vera, SICSAL President and also President of our partner Centro Fray Bartolomé de las Casas, Frayba

The event ended with a final declaration on Saturday September 1 in the Santa Laura Training Center, with a closing ritual and offering of canvas "Medellín 50 años" to the communities of Medellín.


Medellin, Latin America, Colombia, Martha Inés Romero, SICSAL, Frayba, CELAM