On Monday, September 25, 2017, Pope Francis encouraged the Bishops of Ecuador — on the occasion of their “ad Limina Apostolorum visit in the Vatican –, to hold a Synod on the Church in the Amazon.
Monsignor Rene Coba Galarza, Secretary General of the Ecuadorean Episcopal Conference, mentioned the Pope’s suggestion during an interview in the Spanish language program of Vatican Radio, in which the military ordinary described the meeting with the Roman Pontiff.
“They were three hours of meeting with the Father, with the Teacher, with the Pastor,” said the Prelate, who spoke of a “continuation” of the meeting that took place on the occasion of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Journey to Ecuador.
“We are a Latin American Church; CELAM [Latin American Episcopal Council] is the great engine that drives the pastoral work,” continued Monsignor Coba Galarza, who recalled the door-to-door and the Continental missions.
“It’s necessary to show that we are Christians in church, in the parish, but above all in the social structure. To show that we are Christians by the style of life we lead,” added the Military Bishop.
During the meeting there was also talk of a project to hold a Synod on the Church in Amazonia, a topic that the Pontiff has very much at heart and was already addressed on the occasion of the papal trip to Ecuador. The Amazon region of the Andean country represents, in fact, almost half (48%) of the whole Ecuadorian territory.
“We have several Brother Bishops, particularly in the Apostolic Vicariates, who live this concrete reality and feel all the suffering of the region’s indigenous population,” said Monsignor Coba Galarza, who recalled the commitment of the Church in Ecuador in the Pan-Amazonia Ecclesial Network”.
Although at present the Bishops are “concerned and afflicted” above all about the recent natural disasters – earthquakes, floods, hurricanes – which have devastated their country, nevertheless they maintain their commitment in the Amazonian region regarding the question of the so-called mining “extractivism” or exploitation, and, in particular, it’s impact on the environment and on the indigenous population, explained the prelate.
In regard to the presence of 13 native nationalities on Ecuador’s national territory, each one with its own language and culture, the Pontiff insisted in particular “ on the respect that must be had for the identity of these people and the closeness we should have through an endeavor of inculturation of the Gospel,” said Monsignor Coba Galarza.
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