A Synod for the indigenous peoples: culture, ministry and Eucharist in the Amazon (Part 1)

30 de Octubre de 2019

[Por: Pablo Mora, S.J.]

The pastoral work of the Church with the indigenous peoples in the Amazon is done from a context that shows many challenges: a gigantic territory with very limited access by roads, hundreds of native and river peoples who show very diverse cultures and languages. Contrary to those who think that these peoples have been trapped in the nets of the past, the phenomenon of modernization far from the region has already knocked on the doors of many communities. To the more traditional means of communication and the radio, have come the television, and in the last decade the introduction of the cell phone. Competition from the telephone companies for these new clients, along the river and in aboriginal villages, has rapidly shortened the distance between them and the cities. Everything is now literally "within reach".


Unfortunately, the transmission of the good news by the Catholic Church has not achieved the same speed to reach the original peoples; on the contrary, it has stagnated for many years and we no longer have the capacity to convoke them  as a Christian community. All this is very regrettable in a region where hope is beaten down and massacred by so many evils such as family violence, drug trafficking, slave labour, human trafficking and the constant insecurity that the most vulnerable will lose their land. 


In this context the Pan-Amazonian Synod appears as a breath of the Spirit, a kairos, which wants to renew and recreate the Church of the Amazon region. With its breath it wants to infuse life and to cover with sinews, flesh and skin what appear to be “dry bones” (Cf. Ezekiel 37: 5-10). The new paths of evangelization expected from the Synod are of such great importance to the original Amazonian peoples that it could also be called the “Synod of Indigenous Peoples”. 


All this is an invitation to review themes such as culture, interculturality and inculturation and the limitations of a “Ministry of Visit” in the Amazonian region (Part I). This will lead us to finally address a  central theme for the reflection of the Synod: the need for a "Ministry of Presence” and the essential role of the Eucharist in the Church in the Amazon (Part II).



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