AMERICA/PERU - The Amazon and its inhabitants are protagonists of the Pope’s visit to Peru

Friday, 15 December 2017 pope francis   pastoral visit   amazon   indigenous   civil society  

Observatorio Petrolero de la Amazonía Norte

Puerto Maldonado (Peru) - The Amazon will be protagonist in the next apostolic visit of Pope Francis to Peru (18-21 January 2018). "For one day, January 19, Puerto Maldonado will be transformed into a large ecological summit: the spotlight of the world will be there", wrote José María Rojo, Superior General of the Spanish Foreign Missions Institute in "La República" newspaper. "But with two big differences compared to Paris 2015 or Bonn 2017. The first: the powerful will not come together, but the poor people of the Amazon will be heard. The second: the Pope will dedicate himself to them, a supporter, who has nothing to lose or to hide and has said in every possible way: either we commit ourselves to taking care of our common home, or the planet will drift away".
According to the local bishop, Mgr. David Martínez de Aguirre, the Pope's personal encounter with the native Amazonian peoples will be important: "It will be an opportunity to show the Pope the reality of our cultures, and the Pope will be able to show what he wants for these peoples. We want him to perceive the Amazon environment and its cultures with the five senses, with their wisdom and riches. We want him to give us a message, and for him to also receive the message of our peoples", said Mgr. Martínez to the magazine Vida Nueva. For the Bishop, convinced that the visit will be an anticipation of what will happen in the Special Synod for the Panamazon region (convened by the Pope for October 2019), "a Church with an Amazon face is a Church that looks at the world from its context, a Church that gives space and a preferential place to the peoples who live here and are the legitimate inhabitants of these lands. A Church with an Amazon face is also a welcoming Church for all the people who, in a respectful way, have come here in this land".
Three meetings are scheduled for Francis in Puerto Maldonado,: in the Coliseo de Madre de Dios sports hall with 4,000 representatives of the indigenous peoples; in the square of the Jorge Basadre Institute with the population; at the El Principito orphanage, with children from various institutes.
More than 30 indigenous communities in the area have confirmed their participation in the meeting. At least 30 representatives will be present for each of the other seven apostolic vicariates of the region, thanks to the commitment of the national government for their travels. A special flight is scheduled from Iquitos and San José del Amazonas of the Armed Forces. Delegations from Brazil and Bolivia will also be present.
Pope Francis will be in Chile from 15 to 18 January and will visit Santiago, Temuco and Iquique. He will go to Peru from January 18 to 21, 2018 and will visit the cities of Lima, Puerto Maldonado and Trujillo. (SM) (Agenzia Fides, 14/12/2017)