CELAM (El Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano) is the Episcopal Conference of Latin American nations established by Pope Pius XII in 1955, at the request of the Bishops of Latin America and the Caribbean. It offers a service of “liaison, communion, formation, research and reflection” among the 22 Bishops’ Conferences found between Mexico and Cape Horn, and in the Caribbean and the Antilles. Every four years, the ordinary assembly of the Presidents of these Episcopal Conferences elects its membership. 

CELAM’s office is in Santafe de Bogota, Colombia. The website is: http://www.celam.org


Fifth General Conference, 13-31 May 2007, Aparecida, Brazil.

 The theme is Disciples and missionaries of Jesus Christ, so that our people may have life in him.
The Conference will focus on certain challenges which the Church encounters in the vast area of Latin America, inserted into world dynamics and conditioned increasingly by the effects of globalization

   – will build on issues raised at previous meetings, including the need for a new evangelization, human development, a Christian culture and ways of overcoming extreme poverty, as well as solidarity between the church in the United States and Canada and the church in Latin America.

  – will conclude with the publication of a final document, which will proclaim a “great continental mission” for the Church in Latin America. 

The meeting will be composed of 176 participants: the Presidents of the 22 member episcopal conferences, representatives of the bishops of each of the member episcopal conferences, and bishops representing Canada, the United States, Spain and Portugal. Also present will be 24 priests, 23 male and female religious, and 17 lay people, as well as six ecumenical representatives.



Previous General Conferences

 The following are the previous CELAM conferences:

 1. First General Conference (1955), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

- the conference addressed the following: 1) The need offer particular support to promoting vocations in every diocese throughout Latin America; 2) The need to provide religious instruction for Catholics throughout Latin America; and 3) The call for social justice, especially among the poor, throughout Latin America.

 2. Second General Conference (1968), Medellín, Colombia

– focused on the Church in Latin America in light of Vatican Council II.

 3. Third General Conference (1979), Puebla, Mexico

– focused on Evangelization in the present and the future of Latin America.

– Pope John Paul II opened the conference during his apostolic journey to Mexico.

 4. Fourth General Conference (1992), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

– focused on New Evangelization, the promotion of human dignity, Christian culture, and challenges for the Church in light of new situations that have emerged in Latin America and the world.

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