ColumnistsP. Justino Sarmento Rezende

New paths for the Church

The surprise of the convocation of the Synod for the Pan-Amazon region by Pope Francis and the experience of having participated in the preparatory phase.

October 8, 2019-Reading time: 2 minutes

I am 58 years old, of which 35 years of religious life (Salesian life) and 25 years of priesthood, most of those years dedicated to my indigenous relatives and countrymen. The convocation of the Synod on the Pan-Amazonian region by Pope Francis was a great surprise for me, involving me directly in the process of its preparation.

It is interesting how from the beginning the indigenous people have become the special interlocutors to contribute to reflect on what a Church with an Amazonian face and an indigenous face would be like. And in this way to show how to relate in a balanced way with the territories, forests, rivers, streams, animals, fish, birds, places of our origins.

My commitment to the process of preparation for the Synod of the Amazon has clearly shown me that the Amazonian indigenous peoples expect something new to emerge from the Synod. The figure of Pope Francis is understood as one of the strongest allies in defense of the peoples and their territories, and this commitment to the most fragile who are indigenous is demonstrated as a prophetic voice in the Amazon and in the contemporary world.

The Synod will be attended by experts of our Church (theologians, pastors, liturgists, biblical scholars, canonists, etc.). The synodal priests will have to assume an attitude of listening, listening to the voices of the Holy Spirit and the voices of the Amazon. In this way, the Synod of the Amazon will offer to the Catholic Church, from the Amazon, contributions that will enrich the whole Catholic Church. 

The period following the Synod Assembly will be a very good and important time, the time when we will see the birth and growth of new paths for the local Church. On the other hand, several challenges will be pointed out with regard to the care of integral ecology. Both the Church and the Pan-Amazonian national societies will take up this work and we should not be afraid and run away from these commitments.

The authorP. Justino Sarmento Rezende

Salesian priest, indigenous of the Utãpinopona/Tuyuka people

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