As you are reading this blog, the Pan-Amazon Synod of Bishops is in session in Brazil and will be running until October 27. Called by Pope Francis, we can be sure he is encouraging the bishops from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela and French Guyana to focus not only on the specific concerns of these nine countries, but on the connections this Amazon area has on—literally—the entire hemisphere and beyond. About 2.8 million people, speaking 230 different languages, inhabit this territory which extends across the unimaginable expanse of some 3,728,227 miles of land. What is the meaning of those statistics and/or the connections between regions, to say nothing of the Amazon basin currently devastated by fire, mass movements of people forced out of their homes into urban areas or the effects of deforestation that have affected the climate across our hemisphere! There is no doubt that this ecosystem is currently being disrupted by floods, extreme temperatures, fluctuations affecting anyone’s ability to earn a living.
So what does Pope Francis, author of Laudato Si (Care for our Common Home), suggest? That the Bishops remember that everything is connected; that each of us is responsible to each other; that we must discover—together—new paths for the Church in the Amazon region to promote an integral ecology and, therein, to find ways for the Christian community to respond to injustice, poverty, inequality, violence and exclusion! Does this surprise us, knowing Pope Francis’ repeated emphasis on the fact that care for creation can never be separated from all other aspects of Christian life?
Let us pray for the Pan-Amazon Synod of Bishops…
Renée Domeier, OSB
Photo: David Riaño Cortés from Pexels.com