Francis meets the bishops of the Northwest and North Regional1. The Pope urged the bishops to “listen to indigenous peoples, listen to base communities, the Holy Spirit works through these people”.
This Monday, the ad limina visit of the Northwest and North Regionals1 of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil began. We could say that it started with the main moment, because after celebrating the Eucharist at the tomb of the Apostle Peter, the 17 bishops present, together with the administrator of the Diocese of Roraima, met with Pope Francis, the Successor of Peter.
A moment to live catholicity, a moment of joy, according to Monsignor Leonardo Steiner. At the foot of the tomb where the first Pope is buried, the one who will receive the cardinal’s cape on August 27, he insisted on “expressing the joy of our Churches”, highlighting, from his experience in Manaus, “the enormous affection that the People of God have for the Pope, and we rejoice with our communities”.
According to the Archbishop of Manaus, “the tomb of Peter, for us bishops, has the meaning not only of primacy”, highlighting the extraordinary character of the figure of Peter, “because he has many weaknesses, many leaks, many stones, but a man of fidelity”. Archbishop Leonardo Steiner stated, addressing the bishops, that “in the figure of Peter, we see ourselves, we understand each other and we understand each other as people, but we see ourselves, we understand each other and we also understand each other as bishops”, emphasizing that they are part of this centuries-old ministry .
He told the bishops that “before Peter’s tomb let us ask, in addition to fidelity, the grace of gratitude, gratitude for being able to exercise in the Church this ministry at the service of our communities”. Dom Leonardo, in connection with the words of São Paulo, said that “the strength is not in ourselves, the strength is in the ministry received”. Faced with the temptation to focus everything on oneself, he called to realize that “the power of the Spirit, the power of the Kingdom of God, is guiding our Churches and guiding our own ministry”.
The Archbishop of Manaus called to discover “our finitude, which is full of fragility, weakness”, being the ministry itself that frees, “as we return, enthusing ourselves, seeking, serving, surrendering”, making us see the need to get out of the shackles of themselves and the shackles of the system. He also wanted to thank the Popes who nominated them, insisting that “it is not a promotion, but a grace that God has given us”, stressing that it is a service to the Church, which has to be done with joy.
The Eucharistic celebration was followed by “an unforgettable and memorable encounter”, according to Bishop Edson Damian. Still moved, after more than two hours of meeting, which began with a personal greeting to each of the members of the ad limina visit, where Pope Francis was receiving and taking an interest in the gifts of each of the particular churches, the President of the North Regional1 insisted that Pope Francis says right at the beginning: “here I want you to say whatever you want, ask whatever you want, make criticisms too, here you need freedom, because when there is no freedom, there is no dialogue”, according to Bishop Edson. Words that gave rise to a long dialogue in which the Pope “listened to the questions, the positions of each one”.
The Bishop of São Gabriel da Cachoeira thanked Pope Francis for the Synod for the Amazon and the Synod on Synodality. He, who is the bishop of the diocese with the highest percentage of indigenous population in Brazil, expressed to the Holy Father the great gratitude of the indigenous peoples “because for the first time, they are heard, and they feel so happy”, highlighting the fantastic work of listening done in the synod process of the Synod for the Amazon, something that is being repeated with the current Synod, showing the Pope to indigenous peoples, “how seriously he takes them”.
The Pope urged the bishops to “listen to indigenous peoples, listen to base communities, the Holy Spirit works through these people, the poor of the Church, and you are on the frontier, you are with the poorest, you are where I would like to be.” be”.
In relation to the current Synod, Bishop Edson Damian stated that “this Synod is to put into practice the deepest intuitions of the Second Vatican Council, it is to return to what the Church should always be and she ended up losing, synodality, where the Church is the People of God, united with their shepherds, all walking together”.
The North Regional President1, speaking of the Praedicate Evangeliumstressed that according to Pope Francis “it is the result of 9 years of work by the Church, with that group of cardinals who helped me a lot, and you can already feel that whole spirit, which is our Church that is preaching the Gospel, the Gospel above all, to proclaim the Gospel, and the Gospel must reach all peoples, starting with the poor, migrants, those on the borders”.
Finally, the Bishop of São Gabriel da Cachoeira highlighted the words of the Pope, who said: “even though you are two regional, you are deeply united, you are attuned. All the questions you asked complemented our dialogue, clarifying this meeting that makes me profoundly happy”, insisting the bishop: “and we are even more so”.