Puerto Maldonado (Agenzia Fides) - In a long interview with the magazine "Selvas Amazonicas", of the Dominican Missionaries, sent to Agenzia Fides, Mgr. David Martinez de Aguirre, Bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Puerto Maldonado, talks about the priorities and challenges of the Missionary Church in the Peruvian forest. According to the Dominican prelate, a missionary in Peru since 2000, the priorities of the Church in this difficult area of evangelization have been defined by the 80,000 voices of the Amazon heard for the preparation of the working document for the Synod on the Amazon. The priorities are then described by the "thematic nucleus" of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia”, which respond to the concrete challenges that we find in this Church. "The first challenge is that the peoples take possession of the Church, they must feel part of it, they must feel subjects of evangelization and not just an object. Thus, by discovering the Good News, they become true agents of transformation of reality", says Mgr. David, who continues: "To succeed in this objective it is necessary that, as a Church, we accompany cultures through the promotion of formation and cultural development". The Bishop recalls that missionary action in the forest has always taken the path of education. From catechesis in the parishes and chapels of small villages, to schools and now, with the idea of creating a Pan-Amazonian Catholic University, we could "respond to the challenges of bilingual and intercultural education". Only in this way, says the Bishop, "the missionary Church could really contribute to the development of the Amazonian culture according to the values of the Gospel".
Finally, Mgr. David reflects on the missionary experience of the Dominicans in Latin America. "I think we are at a crucial moment. After the first hundred years of missionary activity, we are at a very important moment in which we Dominicans are giving more and more space to the local Church. The fruits are beginning to be seen, and they are our peasant communities. Christians who have taken the place left by the missionaries, from them were born priestly vocations that with dedication and enthusiasm encourage most of our parishes, however, the same has not happened among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon, where we find the enthusiasm on the part of the missionaries who come from other latitudes, Peruvians or foreigners, but local vocations are not yet born in the Amazon, we have not succeeded". (CE) (Agenzia Fides, 18/6/2021)