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Walking with the People of the Amazon September 26th, 2019
Why the Amazon Merits a Synod
By Cardinal-designate Michael Czerny, SJ & Msgr. David Martínez de Aguirre Guinea O.P.
The next Synod of Bishops, to be held in Rome, October 6-27, 2019, is on the Amazon and has as its theme “New paths for the Church and for integral ecology.” It will examine issues that are important to “every person living on the planet” as Pope Francis wrote in the introduction to his Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’ (3).
Why is the Amazon so important that a synod is dedicated to it? What is “integral ecology,” and what might be “new paths” for the Church? Finally, what is a synod really all about? 
A few key facts about the Amazon region:
- Its size is 7.8 million square kilometers, approximately the same size as Australia.
- It includes areas of Brazil, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana.
- There are approximately 33 million inhabitants, of whom 3 million are indigenous belonging to 390 diverse groups or peoples.
- Impact on the planetary ecosystem: the Amazon River basin and the surrounding tropical forests nourish the soil and regulate, through the recycling of moisture, the cycles of water, energy and carbon at the planetary level.
Access the full article at La Civiltà Cattolica.
EDITOR’S NOTE: A special assembly has been announced in a bulletin issued by the Vatican: “In accordance with the proclamation by Pope Francis on October 15, 2017, the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, called to reflect on the theme: New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology, will take place in October 2019. New paths for evangelization must be designed for and with the People of God who live in this region: inhabitants of communities and rural areas, of cities and large metropolises, people who live on river banks, migrants and displaced persons, and especially for and with indigenous peoples.”
In preparation for the synod, Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, Director of OMIUSA JPIC, has assembled the following resources.
The following three resources (1 article and 2 videos) are excellent resources as we enter the final phase of preparation for the forthcoming synod; “Amazonia, New paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology”
- In the article Mauricio Lopez locates the Synod within the context of the encyclical Laudato Sí and identifies some of the opportunities that the synod offers to the universal church and to each of us: https://www.vaticannews.va/en/church/news/2019-06/the-pan-amazon-synod-walking-together-in-an-ecclesial-kairos.html
- The ‘love-the Nature’ film is a very attractive and engaging meditation on the Story of the Cosmos and how we have come full circle in absorbing the lessons of the natural world and building on those insights through our research and imagination: https://uplift.tv/2019/love-thy-nature/
- The PBS video tells the story of the Amazon bio region and its inhabitants and why we must be very careful in the choices that we make about its future: https://www.pbs.org/video/the-amazon-xs6uil/