From September 12 to 16, 2022, the Archdiocese of Porto Velho/RO held another ongoing formation meeting for pastoral agents, with the presence of men and women religious, lay people and lay coordinators of pastoral care.
In this meeting, the reality of the local Church in the face of the current situation, the challenges for evangelization taking into account the environment, the family, traditional and indigenous peoples, quilombolas, riverside people, and the pastoral and administrative directions of the Archdiocese towards its first centenary.
The first day was the moment to get to know a little about the reality of the Amazon and the great problems that the Church faces in this reality. Professors at the Federal University of Rondônia (UNIR) – Ricardo Gilson da Costa, from the Department of Geography and Afonso Maria das Chagas, from the Department of Social Sciences, were responsible for bringing this Analysis of Conjuncture and Conflicts in the Amazon.
For Professor Ricardo da Costa, the Catholic Church has a fundamental role in raising awareness of the importance of preservation, due to its mission in favor of the poor and in defense of the Amazon, especially after the Synod: “The Church has an important social role, because it is recognized in society. It has a responsibility towards the poorest, and a responsibility towards the Amazon, as discussed at the Synod; which is to take care of our Common Home. This is an important role and the Church has to assume more and more”.
For Professor Afonso das Chagas, despite its active presence, its witness, the Church needs to rescue its protagonism in the different Amazonian realities, mainly in the defense of the environment and the native peoples: “The Catholic Church in the Amazon has a beautiful history . She, for a long time, has been service, presence, prophecy, witness. And all this action means a return to the origins, rescuing a little this protagonism, adapting its language to the times of today”.
This look at the Amazon, its people and its natural resources, challenges us about the role of society in the preservation of life, in all its dimensions. We are not against progress, as Dom Roque Paloschi, Archbishop of Porto Velho says, but we have to do it responsibly. “We have no opposition to progress, to development. What we cannot understand as development is that which destroys nature, takes away the rights of peoples already enshrined in the constitution. But all this we have to look at with the eyes of faith. What is our mission at this time in the Amazon? It is, above all, to have the courage to take small initiatives to truly care for the garden of God: collecting and separating recyclable waste, caring for springs, preserving the riparian forest of rivers and streams, avoiding the poisons that we often use on a large scale. ; but also, we have to be careful with our houses, with the patios of the communities, etc.”, emphasizes the Archbishop.
On the second day of the meeting, it was time to explore and learn a little more about the Church's Paths in the Amazon; theme advised by professor/doctor Márcia Maria de Oliveira, from the Federal University of Roraima. The training was based on the Santarém Document 50 years: Gratitude and Prophecy, prepared on the occasion of the IV Meeting of the Catholic Church in the Amazon held in June, in the city of Santarém in Pará, remembering the first meeting in Santarém that took place in 1972, which dealt with “Life and Evangelization in the Amazon Region”. The Santarém meeting in 1972 was very important in establishing the priority lines that followed in the following years, up to the present time. “There was no way to travel the paths of the Amazon if it were not under the light of the Santarém Document, as it aims to guide the Church in the Amazon in the perspective of the Second Vatican Council”.
The third day of the meeting continued with the study of the Santarém Document 50 years: Gratitude and Prophecy, under the coordination of Professor/Doctor Márcia Maria de Oliveira. The moment was one of deepening, a more detailed look at the mission made in groups and then shared in plenary.
“This training was of paramount importance to deepen the knowledge of reality. The Santarém document brings us this view 50 years later, where it resumes the entire journey of the Church, with many advances in various sectors. In 1972, the meeting served to update the challenges of the Second Vatican Council. Today, it is helping us to guide us for the Synod, especially for the Amazon, and to update what the great challenges of today present us”. Thus, the meeting ended with Holy Mass, presided over by Archbishop Roque Paloschi.
Sr. Rosilda de Lima, sjbp