The year 2007 is the fortieth anniversary of the National Rural Congress of 1967. It was at this Congress that the participants, most of them diocesan and parish social action workers, came to the crucial conclusion that the Church must go to the barrios. The reason was the heavy realization that the rural parts of the country were the most neglected by both the government's development programs and the Church's pastoral care.
To commemorate that crucial event in our life as a Church--and to make us meet in true Gospel fidelity our present social concerns--we propose that we revive the memory of that Congress by holding one again this year.
But this time our farmers must do that speaking by themselves, the discerning, the proposing of their own ideas, the planning of how we must as a people come together to work for the common good of the country and of ourselves. Doing so, they will be effectively asserting the dignity that for so long has been denied them. And the rest of us, participating with them in their reflections and deliberations, we will be honoring their inborn dignity as children of the same Father in Heaven.