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Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation

A Ministry of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

United States Province

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Focus Areas: Human Dignity: Indigenous Peoples
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Oblate Mission Statement on Indigenous Peoples

Bolivia, August 5, 2008

Preamble

We, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, together with Pastoral Agents who serve with Indigenous Peoples from different regions, assembled under the guidance of the Holy Spirit with some members of the Central Government of our Congregation at Cochabamba, Bolivia, from the 18th to the 22nd of February, 2008, present the following statement:

Missionary Oblates

  • We Oblates have successes and failures in our service to Indigenous Peoples. Our specific role within the Church, as a Missionary congregation, is to serve the poor and the excluded of the world.
  • We are grateful to have amongst us Oblates of Indigenous origin as they bring specific missionary and pastoral contributions based on their particular identity.
  • We encourage and support our brothers and sisters who are in Indigenous Peoples ministry and recommit ourselves to continue our ministry among them.
  • We feel called to help and participate in the process of healing and reconciliation wherever it is needed.
  • In our Evangelization, we always have to be open, heart and soul, to the cultural values and spiritual integrity of Indigenous Peoples.
  • We actively encourage vocations among Indigenous Peoples and we will be culturally sensitive as we accompany them in their formation.
  • We continue to use mass media in our ministry with Indigenous Peoples to promote and inspire them to express their culture and defend their rights.
  • We will intensify and recommit to networking Oblates and others in ministry with Indigenous Peoples, while maintaining our missionary and religious identity.
  • We support and promote active involvement in decision making places such as the United Nations and other institutions.

Integrity of Creation

  • As Oblates we collaborate with Indigenous Peoples, working towards the stewardship of the environment within the traditions and lived teachings of the people and the gospel.
  • We commit ourselves to work for social, economic and environmental justice.
  • We affirm the spiritual connection of the Indigenous Peoples to their ancestral lands and domains.
  • We will defend the rights of Indigenous Peoples to express their opinion and to participate in decision-making in regards to the use and protection of lands and natural resources (minerals, water, forests, fish and wildlife).
  • We support the implementation of the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Inculturation

  • We will be close to and in solidarity with Indigenous Peoples in the struggle for their rights and interests.
  • We affirm Indigenous Peoples’ rights to live according to their culture, traditional knowledge and spiritual and religious practices.
  • We Oblates act as facilitators to create opportunities for dialogue to occur between Indigenous Peoples and the decision makers of the Catholic and other churches, and inter-religious dialogue with traditional religious practices and convictions.
  • We will help to establish local research initiatives by indigenous communities in line with culture, ethnicity, history and evangelization.
  • We facilitate the process of enculturation and create ministries which respond to the needs of the communities.
  • We facilitate the development of an Indigenous Church with indigenous theology, ministry, signs and symbols of their liturgy.

Hope for the Future

  • We are preoccupied by the fact that migration, for Indigenous Peoples, often results in the loss of identity and communal bonds.
  • We support Indigenous Peoples in their efforts to recover and revitalize ethno-esteem (recovery of identity and sacred places, along with cultural, language and spiritual revival).
  • We facilitate intercultural dialogue and promote equitable coexistence socially, economically, politically and spiritually on an equal footing.
  • We encourage Indigenous Peoples to have a voice in the many levels of government.
  • We affirm the right of Indigenous Peoples to access all levels of education.

We wish to acknowledge the significant achievements of the Indigenous Peoples of Bolivia.

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