The small community of St Ignatius village near Lethem in the Guyanese interior hosted a once in a generation event last week. This was the much-heralded pre-synod consultation meeting of the eastern region of Amazonia.
Pope Francis announced the Synod on the Amazon in January, after expressing grave concern for the indigenous peoples and the ecology of the region. The pope appointed a pre-synod council to prepare consultation documents which are analyzed to inform the synod working documents and agenda.
The pre-synod meeting of the eastern region of Amazonia is part of this consultation process and the Jesuit parish of St Ignatius Lethem in the Rupununi in the interior of Guyana was chosen as the location.
The Jesuits in Guyana had led the consultation process with over fifty remote indigenous communities. Each village sent delegates to attend the three-day meeting in Lethem which was led by Cardinal Pedro Baretto SJ, Archbishop of Huancayo Peru, the papal nuncio Archbishop Fortunatus Nwachukwu, and the bishops of the 'three Guianas': Francis Alleyne OSB, Bishop of Georgetown Guyana, Karel Choennie, Bishop of Suriname and Emmanuel Lafont Bishop of Cayenne, French Guiana. The church dignitaries were all presented with elaborate feather headdresses and garlands which they wore for the opening Mass and meeting.
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