Italy - New paths for a Church with an Amazonic face: Pan-Amazonic Seminar at Salesian Pontifical University

06 March 2019

(ANS - Rome) - It is said that "the Amazon is the lung of humanity". In fact, the preparatory document of the Synod of Bishops on the Pan-Amazonic region also states that the Amazon basin is one of the largest reserves of biodiversity (30-50% of the world's flora and fauna), of fresh water (20% of non-frozen fresh water from the planet), and over a third of the planet's primary forests. Nine countries share this great biome: Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela, including French Guiana as overseas territory. And the Salesians are there too, working with young indigenous people.

The Faculty of Theology of the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome, together with the Missions Sector of the Salesian Congregation, have organized the Seminar on the Pan-Amazonic Synod for 7-8 March: "New ways for a Church with an Amazonic face."

The seminar's objective is to continue the reflection of Salesians; in fact, a few months ago, a first meeting was held in Brazil, in Manaus, attended by Salesian missionaries from Latin America to discuss the challenges and future prospects of the Salesian presence in the Amazon region.

At the same time, "the seminar is not just a workshop of reflection on the Pan-Amazonic Synod, but is part of a journey within the Provinces for the reflection and qualification of our mission in the Amazon," explains Fr Martín Lasarte of the Mission Sector. "Our mission, given the importance for integral ecology, is attentive and gives - fundamentally - priority to the cry of young people, above all indigenous, but also to Afro-descendants, mestizos, whites, mulattos, of the forest, the countryside, the shores, the small and big cities."

It is important to underline that for Pope Francis the Pan-Amazonic Synod aims to "identify new ways of evangelizing that part of God's people, especially the indigenous, often forgotten and without a serene future." This is why, for the Salesians, it is a matter of carrying out "a work of raising awareness" before this great challenge.

To complete this task, the seminar organizers invited numerous speakers of import: mgr. Fabio Fabene, Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops; Msgr. Raúl Biord, bishop of La Guaira, Venezuela; Msgr. Antonio de Assis Ribeiro, SDB, bishop of Belém, Brazil; Dr Guzmán Carriquiri, Vice-President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America; professor José Zanardini, SDB, from Paraguay; Dr. Gabriela Bernal from Ecuador; Fr Juan Botasso, SDB, from Ecuador; and Fr Reginaldo Cordeiro, SDB, of the Brazil-Manaus Province.

Other speakers will participate via pre-recorded interviews: card. Claudio Hummes, President of the "Pan-Amazzonic Ecclesial Network" (REPAM);  card. Pedro Ricardo Barreto Jimeno, Vice President of REPAM, Peru; and Mauricio Lopez Oropeza, Executive Secretary of REPAM.

The Salesians, with the whole Church, are "called to be," as Pope Francis says, "the instruments of God the Father for our planet to be what He dreamed when He created it, and to respond to His plan of peace, beauty and fullness."


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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