Italy - "Our concern is the common home where the young person is at the center of our attention": the Pan-Amazon Seminar
(ANS - Rome) - "I heard a story of a nun who had gone to evangelize an area of the Amazon, and the natives told her: 'if you come to build a church, know that we have our convictions. If you come to build a school, know that we can educate our children for themselves ... But if you come to stay with us and fight for our rights, you are welcome." This is what Fr José Zanardini narrated in the first report of the Pan-Amazon Seminar entitled "New paths for a Church with an Amazonian Face", underway (March 7-8) at the Salesian Pontifical University.
The event is being attended by a large group of people and speakers from various parts of the world: Paraguay, Venezuela, Brazil and Ecuador. Fr Paolo Carlotta and Fr Martin Lasarte of the Missions Dicastery offered their welcome.
In a brief presentation, Fr Lasarte said that the mission of the Salesians at the Pan-Amazon Synod is not simply to take a position on nature. "Our concern is the common home where the young person is at the center of our attention. In these 125 years of Salesian presence in the Amazon, we have accompanied thousands of young people; we have 38 religious communities with the presence of 198 Salesians of Don Bosco."
Cardinal Claudio Hummes, archbishop emeritus of Sao Paulo, Brazil, presented the history of the Pan-Amazon Synod. Mgr. Fabio Fabene, Undersecretary of the Synod of Bishops, then spoke: "Church and ecology are one reality. It is faith in God that stimulates the Church to be present in the territory, enhancing (the value of) culture and identity ... In this sense it is a matter of seeing the Amazonian face of the Church."
The morning ended with a presentation by Prof. Gabriela Bernal on the current state of the youth in the Amazon: "Latin America continues to be the continent of inequality. Indigenous women and young people are truly poor …," she said.
In the afternoon, mgr. Raúl Biord, bishop of La Guaira, from Venezuela, presented the report: "Theological, ecclesial and missionary perspectives for the Amazon region", and Fr Reginaldo Cordeiro, SDB, presented a paper: "The spaces of young people in the Amazon Church."
In conclusion, Mauricio López Oropeza, Executive Secretary of the "Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network", explained that "the purpose of this Synod is to help us change our heart, recognize God in the other and be part of a process of transformation."
- Sinodo per la regione Panamazzonica