The theme of the synod meeting is Amazonia: new pathways for the Church and for an integral ecology.
The theme is closely aligned with sentiments expressed by the Holy Father during his recent apostolic journey to Chile and Peru. On January 19, 2018, he told some 4,000 indigenous peoples in the Amazon region of Peru that he wanted to be with them to share their challenges and reaffirm them with a wholehearted option for the defense of life, the defense of the earth and the defense of cultures.
Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, defined the Amazon as a garden containing immense wealth and natural resources–the motherland of the indigenous peoples–with their own history and unmistakable features.
Opening comments offered by a Peruvian priest
at the preparatory meeting for the Synod of Bishops on the Amazon
I thank Pope Francis, Cardinal Baldisseri, the bishops, priests, and councilors of the Synodal Council. I am speaking here on behalf of the Amazonian peoples, especially on behalf of the indigenous peoples. I am the only indigenous person present. I gratefully say that the Church is looking at us with its heart and its mind directed toward us. It is giving to us, the people of the Amazon, the hope of receiving important contributions so that the Church might become more and more universal. We indigenous persons, who were evangelized, are today’s evangelizers. We too contribute toward enriching our Church.