Puyo (Agenzia Fides) - As part of his pastoral visit to the indigenous communities of Kichwa, settled in the Ecuadorian Amazon rainforest, the Apostolic Vicar of Puyo, Monsignor Rafael Cob, conferred the ministry of the Word (Lectorate) and of the Eucharist ( Acolyte) to five members of the communities of Boveras Montalvo, three men and two women. As the note released by CELAM points out, this is the first time that these ministries have been conferred to women. The laity who received this ministry were trained for three years at the Kichwas del Cefir Indigenous Formation School, and followed the specific course for ministries. Pope Francis established with the motu proprio "Spiritus Domini" of 10 January 2021, that the ministries of the Lectorate and Acolyte are henceforth also open to women, in a stable and institutionalized form, with a specific mandate. In the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Querida Amazonia" of February 2, 2020, he wrote: "We need to promote an encounter with God’s word and growth in holiness through various kinds of lay service that call for a process of education – biblical, doctrinal, spiritual and practical – and a variety of programmes of ongoing formation" (n.93). "In a synodal Church, those women who in fact have a central part to play in Amazonian communities should have access to positions, including ecclesial services, that do not entail Holy Orders and that can better signify the role that is theirs. Here it should be noted that these services entail stability, public recognition and a commission from the bishop" (n.103).
The new ministers of the Word and the Eucharist will therefore dedicate themselves to the service of the Christian communities of this territory, where the presence of priests can only be periodic, due to the many tasks entrusted to them, the inaccessibility of places and the great distances to travel. Now the members of the communities will be able to receive the Eucharist during the Sunday celebration in the absence of the priest, and even the sick and disabled will be able to receive it in their homes. During the celebration, Monsignor Cob reminded the new ministers of the importance of the gift they receive and of the blessing that God grants them by entrusting them with this task, which also represents a commitment of ecclesial service to the people of God. He also invited the community to pray for these members, so that their fidelity may grow every day, their attitude is a living example of the encounter with God and of their commitment to the mission entrusted to them.
The Apostolic Vicariate of Puyo, Ecuador, includes the province of Pastaza. Seat of the Vicariate is the city of Puyo, where the Cathedral dedicated to Our Lady of the Rosary is located. It has an area of 30,000 sq km, a population of 90,600 inhabitants of whom 62,900 are Catholics. There are 20 parishes, 11 diocesan priests and 3 religious priests, 13 non-priests and 59 religious women. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 22/6/2021)