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Oblate presence at the Special Synod for Amazon 2019 October 10th, 2019
When Pope Francis announced on October 15, 2017 a new Special Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region, the whole process of listening and dialogue with the Amazonian peoples of nine countries (Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana) found a push that could only come from those who know these cries and concerns, these proposals and challenges. The Latin American Pope with this Pan-Amazonian Synod invites us to dialogue, to discern, to listen, to ask God in order to find new ways for the Church and for an integral ecology.
The Holy Father has called them to participate as Synod Fathers from October 6 to 27 in Rome, where this important ecclesial event will take place, bringing together more than 250 people. They include bishops, missionaries, lay people, experts and special guests, who for three weeks will have the task of discerning with Pope Francis how to put into practice Evangelium gaudium and Laudate sí.
We transmit this great joy to all belonging to the Mazenodian family that two of our brothers will be participants of the Synod to share their lived testimonies with the Amazonian peoples.
Bishop Jan KOT, Bishop of the Diocese of Zé Doca, a territory of the Brazilian Amazon is one of those bishops who represent the Pan-Amazonian Region. Fr. Roberto CARRASCO, of the General Delegation of Peru, has also been elected as a Synod Father from the list of delegates of the Union of Superiors General.
Bishop Kot is an Oblate missionary from Poland. He was the vicar parish priest in Siedlce, Poland, before he arrived in Brazil in 1994. He then served as parish priest, first in Jussarval and then in Vitória di Santo Antão, Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife. He was also the parish priest of the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Alegre do Fidalgo, in the diocese of San Raimundo Nonato. Since 2014, he has been serving as the Bishop of the Diocese of Zé Doca, right in the Amazonian region of Brazil.
Fr. Roberto Carrasco is completing a degree in Social Communications at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. He worked for four years in the Mission of Aucayacu, Diocese of Huánuco, as director of Radio Amistad. He then moved to the Mission of Santa Clotilde, Napo River, where for seven years he served as the parish vicar. In the Apostolic Vicariate of St. Joseph of the Amazon he served as coordinator of the Indigenous Pastoral as well. He is currently leading a joint initiative called “Amazonia: Casa Común” a space where various religious congregations, Church organizations and civil society organizations interact digitally in their work with the Amazonian peoples. They have prepared more than one hundred activities that will be carried out with the purpose of accompanying the Synod this October 2019.
Both Fr. Roberto Carrasco and Msgr. Jan Kot, with the spirit and charism of St. Eugene De Mazenod are present for the development of the Pan-Amazonian Synod, living and sharing that collegiality which is nothing but “walking together” for a Church that also has an Amazonian face to it.
Festival of Social Doctrine: “Multi-stakeholder Collaboration” December 8th, 2016
By Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI
“In the midst of the people” was the organizing perspective used to bring together more than 500 participants at the Festival of Social Doctrine in Verona Italy last weekend. Small business leaders, church leaders and members of government were represented in the festival as were numerous representatives of church associations and civil society. They showcased some of the very successful projects that continue to evolve on cooperatives and credit unions and have been operating for years and presented some innovative ideas and approaches to the application of Catholic Social teaching to business and the not for ‘profit sector. The encyclical Laudato Sí provided the motivation for the participants and the stimulation for the talks, panels and workshops.
In his message to the festival Pope Francis returned to the theme of “encounter” when he encouraged those gathered to be open to the great diversity of peoples that comprise the fabric of humanity. “When you are with the people you see humanity: never exists only the head, always exists also the heart. There is more substance and less ideology. To solve the problems of the people you should start from the bottom, get dirty hands, have value, listen to the last”.
In the workshop that I presented with Bishop Moses Hamugonole from the diocese of Monze in Zambia, we were asked to share some thoughts in the engagement of the churches with the mining companies and specifically in Zambia. We built our input on the call for multi stakeholder dialogue that is encouraged in Laudati Sí and the decision of the Zambian Episcopal conference in April 2016 to convene a conference on how Mining and Agriculture can contribute to sustainable development.
We recalled how the extractive industry represented by the CEO’s of many major mining companies asked for a structured sustained conversation with the Vatican through the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. This conversation began by focusing on the poor reputation that mining has in many communities and regions and sought to explore how the industry could be a more constructive partner in promoting development. Thus was born in Rome in September 2013 the Days of Reflection and followed by Days of Courageous Conversation between major stakeholders that have now been convened four times during the intervening three years with other initiatives at national and regional events.
A primary question that has been reiterated in Laudato Sí asks about the appropriate mechanisms and sustainable ways of cultivating the abundance of the natural resources in our “common home” that have been entrusted into our care and promised also to sustain future generations. This includes both the resources on the surface of the earth as well as those below the surface. How do we structure the exploration and use of these basic resources in such a way that we leave behind an inhabitable planet?
Secondly we discussed the role and responsibility of each stakeholder and how they might work together to contribute to appropriate and sustainable development and be cognizant of the multiple crisis like poverty, youth unemployment, migration, destruction of the environment, deteriorating infrastructure and violence that societies face across the world? For corporations and foundations this must extend beyond philanthropy but be integrated into their very business models and operations and their investment philosophies. For governments and political leaders it requires the exercise of their authority for the promotion of the common good which includes the protection of “our common home”.
“I urgently appeal, then for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (no.14)
Fr. Séamus Finn: Video Presentation on Business, Markets and the Common Good November 4th, 2016
In this video Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, addresses Business, Markets and the Common Good: the Challenge of Laudato Si.
This public discussion was organized by Together for the Common Good (www.togetherforthecommongood.co.uk) at St Michael’s Cornhill, London, England.