The Jesuit Pedro Barreto is the Cardinal-Archbishop of Huancayo in Peru. For the past year and a half, as the Vice-President of the Pan-Amazonian Network (REPAM), he took an active part liaising with indigenous communities in preparing for the current Synod. He arrived in Rome with many representatives of the Amazonian aboriginal world; he is with them, and he has made himself one of them. He sent us the following message: the indigenous people asked him to give it to the Pope, their brother Francis.
Holy Father, Brother Francis,
this is how the Amazonian indigenous peoples refer to you.
Your brothers and sisters from different parts of the Amazon have come here to Rome to participate in the Synod.
Many others are present to us here in different modes, supporting the Synod by their prayer and through a variety of activities. All are the guardians of the gift of creation. Many religious men and women work in the Amazon. More than 250 bishops from all over the world have gathered. They are the shepherds who accompany the people of God on pilgrimage in the Amazon region. We want to proclaim what our indigenous brothers and sisters in the Amazon have been saying:
“Politicians, and other important people, do not have the time to listen to us. But Pope Francis, our brother Francis, and the Catholic Church have been pleased to give time to listen to us with respect and care.”
One indigenous person summed up the Synod’s contribution by saying:
“Hope does not disappear.”
Another indigenous sister recalled what her grandfather told her:
“Let us give birth to the Word in works...”
Here we are, Holy Father, at your side, because you have called us to hear the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. That is the reason why, for the past eighteen months of preparation, we have been listening to God’s people on pilgrimage throughout the Amazon. We are now reflecting together and searching for “new ways for the Church and for an integral ecology,” something that God desires for us and for humanity. As we begin our task, we feel encouraged, accompanied by the Bishop of Rome, the successor of the Apostle Peter, who is “the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity between the bishops and the multitude of the faithful” (Vat. II, LG 23).
In Rome, we have begun this journey together with our bother Francis. Thank you, Holy Father, brother Francis; we want to walk together with you, and we assure you that you are not alone!
May God accompany us and bless us!