Rome (Fides Service) - Ecuadorian Bishop, Mgr Fausto G. Travez Travez, OFM, appointed Vicar Apostolic of Zamora on 14 January last year, 2003, is one of a group of Bishops taking part in a seminary in Rome organised by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples. Fides asked the Bishop about his work and his people and the difficulties he encounters. "Since I was appointed Vicar Apostolic and started making pastoral visits I have seen that the people are good and they hunger for God but they are lacking in religious formation. When we make these visits people come in large numbers to take part in meetings, retreats and other events organised for the occasion,” he told Fides. "A major problem is that we would need more missionaries to take care of our people. There is a scarcity of chapels, money, structures and means of communication.”
The apostolic Vicariate of Zamora is one of the most complex in Ecuador because of its geographical nature, which makes missionary work very difficult the Bishop told Fides. "We are in an area where the forest is irregular and there are no plains which means that transport and building is difficult. Some places are so inaccessible that we can only make one visit a year to the Catholics who count the days when they will see us. This area has also been affected by conflict and bad weather. However the land is very fertile and this means a lot of people come here to settle. During the last major drought many people moved to Zamora.”
Among the main challenges for his work the Bishop mentioned four priorities: eliminate poverty, promote development and education (schools and universities), build means of communications, roads and media in order to reach more people more frequently.
Mons. Travez says that youth pastoral in the Vicariate is bearing fruit. "We have a good number of vocations in Zamora, but no seminary, so our young people have to go to study in other dioceses. We have almost completed plans for a minor seminary and hope in the future to build a major seminary. We are building homes for the aged and we have feeding centres which provide daily meals for the poor and homeless.” According to the Church’s book of statistics the Apostolic Vicariate of Zamora has an area of 10,556 sq., km, a population of 120,000 of whom 115.000 are Catholics, looked after by 21 diocesan priests and 7 religious priests, 55 women religious, 11 Brothers, and the local Church runs 32 schools of all grades and 9 charity and social centres. (R.G.) (Agenzia Fides 17/9/2004 - Righe 29; Parole 425)