AMERICA/PERU - Joint Guidelines for Indigenous Pastoral Care in the Apostolic Vicariates of the Peruvian Amazon

Thursday, 20 April 2023 indigenous   local churches  

Iquitos (Agenzia Fides) - "To strengthen and articulate the Indigenous Pastoral Care of the vicariates of the Peruvian Amazon, through joint pastoral guidelines, according to social, cultural, ecological and ecclesial reflection, in order to encourage and articulate pastoral processes towards a Church with an Amazonian face": this is the general objective of the "Guidelines for the Indigenous Pastoral Care of the Apostolic Vicariates of the Peruvian Amazon" which has just been published.
As the note from REPAM Peru sent to Fides informs, the Indigenous Pastoral Commission of the Vicariates of the Jungle of Peru, inspired by the path taken by the missionaries and by the Amazonian Church, as well as by the proposals of the Synod for the Amazon, decided in 2020, to trace new indications for pastoral work. After reflection and dialogue with indigenous missionaries and pastoral workers, this document was drawn up, in which indigenous pastoral care provides various guidelines to guide joint actions always in dialogue and listening to people, realities, in the context of their territories.
The Peruvian Apostolic Vicariates are San Ramón, Pucallpa, Puerto Maldonado, San José del Amazonas, Jaen, Iquitos, Requena, Yurimaguas. The text begins by tracing the historical path of the Church in the Peruvian Amazon: "a history full of expeditions, efforts, attempts and failures". This area "has been a real challenge for the Church, but not only a challenge for the evangelization of indigenous cultures, but a challenge for geographical access" with many risks and difficulties. Since the 16th century, the Amazonian population "has been the victim of the exploitation of white people from the Coast or abroad, but since the end of the 19th century and throughout the 20th century this flow towards the Amazon has become a real invasion". Not only has the ecological balance of the region been endangered, but also the lives and cultural integrity of indigenous groups. The interventions of the Popes, from Leo XIII to Francis, on the care of indigenous peoples and the Amazon, the creation of apostolic vicariates, pastoral meetings and ecclesial structures, up to the most recent ones, are then recalled.
After the general objective mentioned at the beginning, 5 specific objectives are given: 1. Resume and strengthen specific indigenous pastoral care. 2.Walk in synodality, to gradually configure a Church with an Amazonian face. 3.Promote listening and acceptance of God's voice, through dialogue with indigenous peoples. 4. Strengthening the accompaniment of indigenous peoples in all dimensions of life (economic, political, social, cultural). 5. Articulation between ecclesiastical jurisdictions, indigenous organizations and allied institutions to carry out joint pastoral actions.
Indigenous pastoral care committed to the integral accompaniment of the peoples of the Amazon is guided in its pastoral service by the "dreams" of "Querida Amazonia": a social, cultural, ecological, ecclesial dream. A series of proposals and actions are given for each. These include: creating a working group of human rights and territory, promoting the training of pastoral workers and itinerant teams on these issues; enhancing the training of missionaries in the languages and culture of native peoples; promoting the training of indigenous leaders and pastoral workers according to the spirituality of Amazonian integral ecology; and proclaiming the kerygma and celebrating the liturgy in native languages. (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 20/4/2023)