AMERICA/BRAZIL - After half a century, the Santarém meeting continues to illuminate the path of evangelization in the Amazon

Wednesday, 8 June 2022 evangelization   synod of bishops   synodality   local churches   amazon  


Santarem (Agenzia Fides) - "Be courageous and daring, opening yourselves with trust to the action of God who created everything, gave himself to us in Jesus Christ and inspires us with the Spirit to proclaim the Gospel with a new commitment and contemplate the beauty of creation, even more exuberant in these Amazonian lands, where we experience the luminous presence of the Risen One". This is the exhortation that Pope Francis addressed to the participants of the Santarém meeting (IV Encontro da Igreja Católica na Amazônia Legal) which is taking place from June 6 to 9 in the same place that hosted the representatives of the Amazonian Churches in 1972. In addition to recalling the pastoral lines drawn at that time, the event also focuses on the application of the indications that emerged from the Synod for the Amazon. "This meeting in Santarém proposed lines of evangelization that marked the missionary action of the Amazonian communities and contributed to the formation of a solid ecclesial conscience", writes the Pope. The ideas of this meeting also served to shed light on the reflections of the Synod Fathers during the recent Synod for the Pan-Amazonian region... Indeed, in the famous "lines of priority", the fruit of this meeting, we find the dreams for the Amazonia which were reaffirmed in the last Synod. I also rejoice in the commitment of the particular Churches of the Brazilian Amazon, through their communities, to continue the indications of the last Synodal Assembly, witnessing at the same time, through the beautiful and deep tradition of the meetings of the local Churches, of the experience of synodality - as an expression of communion, participation and mission - to which the whole Church is called". The 4th Meeting of the Catholic Church in the Legal Amazon is held at the Saint Pius X Seminary in Santarém, and brings together around a hundred people, including cardinals, bishops, priests, members of religious life, lay people, representatives indigenous peoples and traditional communities. According to the Archbishop of Cuiabá and second vice-president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), Monsignor Mário Antônio da Silva, "with this celebration, the Catholic Church intends to commit itself to walking together, to being a Church tha goes forth, and to respond to today's challenges as shepherds close to the flock and challenged by the existential and geographical peripheries". The beginning of the meeting was marked by the celebration of the Eucharist, presided over by the last ordained Bishop in the Brazilian Amazon, Msgr. Raimundo Possidônio Carrera da Mata, Coadjutor Bishop of the Diocese of Bragança, who invoked "the maternal intercession of Mary for all of us, for the whole Church of this Amazon, where so many realities still need resurrection". He then recalled that "the Cross for many of our brothers and sisters is still a reality every day, every moment, our people walk carrying a Cross on these paths, in these alleys, on these lands, on these waters, 'an Amazon that has yet to complete its redemption'. The pilgrimage image of Nuestra Señora de Nazareth, "Reina de la Amazonía", is present at the meeting. The participants were welcomed by the local Archbishop, Msgr. Irineu Roman, and by the president of the North region2 of the CNBB, Msgr. Bernardo Bahlmann, who underlined the importance of the meeting held 50 years ago and of the document elaborated: "a great light for the trip to the Amazon". Sister Maria Inês Vieira Ribeiro, President of Brazilian Religious Life, called for the continuation of the process of a Church that presents itself more and more in the way of Jesus. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 8/6/2022)