Cardinal Gracias in Amazon Synod participants’ list

Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops'Conference of India

By Matters India Reporter

Vatican City, September 21, 2019: Cardinal Oswald Gracias, head of the Catholic Church in India, is among participants the Vatican has listed for the Special Assembly of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region.

The Vatican on September 21 published the list of participants for the October 6-27 to be held in Rome.

Pope Francis on October 15, 2017, convened a Special Synodal Assembly on the Pan-Amazon.

Its main objective is “to find new ways for the evangelization of that portion of the People of God, especially the indigenous, often forgotten and without a perspective of a good future, also for the cause of the crisis of the Amazonian forest, lung of fundamental importance for our planet.”

The Pan-Amazon is made up of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela, Suriname, Guiana and French Guiana.

The list includes all the diocesan bishops of the nine countries from the Amazon region.

The list also includes representatives of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon region, 12 top officials of the Roman Curia offices, and 15 members elected by the Union of Superiors Generals of the men’s religious orders, most of whom work in the Amazon region.

The Vatican has listed 25 experts (including at least four women) who will collaborate with the Special Secretariat of the Synod and 55 auditors.

The list also includes six “fraternal delegates” from the Evangelical, Anglican and Presbyterian Christian Churches in the Amazon region.

Among the 32 members nominated by Pope Francis are Cardinals Christoph Schonborn (Austria), Angelo Bagnasco (Italy, president of the Conferences of European Bishops), Jean-Claude Hollerich (Luxembourg).

In addition to O’Malley the other members of the Council of Cardinal Advisors: Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, Reinhard Marx, Oswald Gracias and Giusseppe Bertello.

Twelve “special” guests have been invited to the synod, including Ban Ki-Moon (Korea), former Secretary General of the United Nations; René Castro Salazar (U.S.A.), assistant director of the FAO department on Climate, Biodiversity, Land, Water at the United Nations; Josianne Gauthier (Canada), Secretary General of CIDSE, the international Catholic Alliance of Agencies of Development; Carlos Alfoso Nobre (Brazil), winner of the Nobel Prize for Peace in 2007, Jeffrey Sachs (U.S.A.), professor of sustainable development at Columbia University, and Hans J. Schellenhuber (Germany), professor of atmospheric physics and emeritus director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.

The pope had already appointed Cardinal Claudio Hummes (Brazil) to the key position of chief relator, and two special secretaries: Jesuit Father Michael Czerny, who will be made a cardinal later this month, and Bishop David Martinez de Aguirre Guinea, a Dominican from Peru.

The three president delegates who will chair the plenary sessions and were also nominated by Pope Francis are: Cardinals Baltazar Porras Cardozo (Venezuela), Jesuit Pedro Barreto Jimeno (Peru), and Joao Braz de Aviz (Brazil and the Vatican).

The Amazon Synod is a great ecclesial, civic and ecological project that seeks to overcome the confines and redefine the pastoral lines, adapting them to contemporary times.

Amazon region is an important source of oxygen for the whole earth, where more than one third of the world’s primary forest reserves are found. It is one of the largest biodiversity reserves on the planet, containing 20 percent of the not frozen freshwater.

The first time the Pope visited the Amazonian territory (in Peru) on January 19, 2018, he expressed his concern for the indigenous people affirming: “The native Amazonian peoples have probably never been so threatened on their own lands as they are at present. The Amazon is being disputed on various fronts.”

On that occasion he officially opened the preparation for the Synod.

(With inputs from Gerard O’Connell in

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