Two years after the publication of the Pope’s Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia”, the General Secretary of the Synod of Bishops declares that the Holy Spirit continues to flow from the Amazon Church and to inspire the Church.
By Vatican News reporter
“The Spirit continues to overflow from the Amazon two years later Querida Amazonia”. Cardinal Mario Grech, general secretary of the Synod of Bishops, made the remark in a statement on Saturday, marking the 2n/a anniversary of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis.
Querida Amazonia (“Beloved Amazonia” in Spanish), was released on February 2, 2020. It followed the Synod of Bishops of the Pan-Amazon Region from October 6 to 27, 2019 at the Vatican on the theme “Amazonia: new paths for the Church and for an integral ecology”.
Generate new life
“On this 2nd anniversary of Querida Amazonia,” Cardinal Grech said, “this breath of the Spirit of God continues to generate new life for the good of the Church.” He pointed out that the many responses received from ecclesiastical and civil circles point to two essential elements of this document: “the life of the peoples who are incarnated therein and the promise made as a Church to respect and honor their voices search for true conversion.
Querida Amazonia – always relevant
He noted that taking steps in this direction takes time. “Some seeds are still germinating, others have not borne fruit, but many have grown, are flowering and will continue to give life for generations to come.” However, Querida Amazonia remains as relevant today as it was then. “It continues to be a love letter written for and with the People of God who are on pilgrimage in this beautiful and threatened territory.”
Cardinal Grech stressed the urgency of the social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial dreams evoked by Pope Francis in the Apostolic Exhortation saying that they cannot be postponed. These dreams embody a rebirth of the deepest invitations of the Second Vatican Council, making Querida Amazonia a means by which the Church could be led to an integral synodal conversion to which the coming Synod 2021-2023 invites everyone. Since the publication of the document, the cardinal said, God continues to manifest himself in the lives of the peoples of the Amazon and in the witness of an incarnate Church, both holy and sinful.
The general secretary of the synod of bishops noted that when preparing for the synod on the Amazon, Pope Francis said, “the periphery is the center.” This can be understood as a fundamental element of the Gospel that could illuminate the two years that have passed since the publication of Querida Amazonia. Thus, what “was previously rejected or secondary in this territory has become a cornerstone, healing a broken world and creating new possibilities for the Church”. “This ‘way’, where the marginalized become a source of life, is proper to the very way of Jesus.” The voices of the peoples of the Amazon change the pastoral model of their Church and become a source of renewed life for the Church and the world.
Participation of the People of God
By listening to the Amazon people and effectively incorporating their voice in deciding church projects, Cardinal Grech said, the Church has been strengthened, making the followers of Christ the true subjects of their own history. Recalling the theme of the 2023 synod – communion, participation and mission – he declared: “we cannot speak of synodality without the effective participation of the holy faithful people of God”.
Cardinal Grech also pointed out that the Holy Father plans to create on an experimental basis the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA), the fruit of the Synod on the Amazon and Querida Amazonia. The CEAMA would articulate the regional bodies of the Church such as the Latin American and Caribbean Episcopal Council (CELAM), the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Men and Women Religious (CLAR), CARITAS of Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pan -Amazonia. Ecclesial network (REPAM).
Currently, several commissions and working groups, which include the direct participation of the local population, are carrying out some of the most urgent tasks proposed by Querida Amazonia for the mission of the Church.