Pope Francis sends a message to participants in the 4th Meeting of the Catholic Church in Amazonia, urging them to renew their missionary outreach to proclaim the Gospel.
By Devin Watkins
As the Church in Brazil’s Amazonia region meets for its 4th regional meeting, Pope Francis sent his encouragement to the local Church’s ministers.
In a message released on Tuesday, the Pope said his heart was “full of joy and hope” to see the Christian communities in the Amazon Basin work together to help give the Church a “new face with Amazonian characteristics”.
Evangelization and identity
He recalled the first Meeting of the Catholic Church in the Amazonia, which was held 50 years ago in the same city of Santarém, in northern Brazil.
That encounter, he noted, set the local Church on a path of “missionary evangelization” and filled it with the desire for the “formation of a firm ecclesial awareness.”
The Meeting also helped pave the way for the 2019 Synod of Bishops on the Amazonia.
Synodality and vitality
Pope Francis went on to praise the Brazilian Church for its efforts to be with those in the Amazon Basin.
“I rejoice in the commitment of the particular Churches of the Brazilian Amazonia, through their communities, to strive ahead under the indications of the last Synodal Assembly, while testifying, through the already deep-rooted and beautiful tradition of local Church meetings, to the experience of synodality—as an expression of communion, participation and mission—to which the whole Church is called.”
The Pope said the Bishops of Brazil filled the 2019 Synod with “vitality, strength, and hope.”
Courageous and audacious
Pope Francis also encouraged the Church in Brazil to be “courageous and audacious” and to be open to God’s action and inspiration.
“God has given us Himself,” he said, “and inspires us through His Spirit to proclaim the Gospel with new commitment and contemplate the beauty of Creation, which is even more exuberant in these Amazonian lands, wherein we experience the luminous presence of the Risen Lord.”
The Pope concluded by entrusting the Church in the Brazilian Amazonia to Our Lady of Nazareth, Queen of the Amazonia, “who never abandons us in our darkest moments.”