Your people will be my people
Mission Formation and the implications of the Amazonian Synod today.
In answer to where she sees her commitment to Mission Formation in the implications of the Amazonian Synod, Sr. Catherine Codd explains that the Preparatory Document for the Pan-Amazonian Synod (issued by Pope Francis on October 15, 2017) the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops was called to reflect on the theme: ‘New Paths for the Church and for an Integral Ecology’* recognising that ‘new paths’ for evangelisation must be designed with the ‘People of God’ who live in this region: inhabitants of communities and rural areas, of cities and large metropolises, people who live on river banks, migrants and displaced persons, and especially for and with indigenous peoples. (instrumentu laboris1)
The Amazonian Synod
This Synod took place from the 6-27th October 2019 in Rome, and the final document has been addressed to the whole world, calling us to new ways of thinking, acting and relating to all cultures, forms of life and cosmo-visions.
“It calls us to integrate rather than separate, incarnate rather than dominate, appreciate rather than exterminate. It calls us to coherence and transparency, to sharing rather than exploitation” – surely an exact description of the Mission of Jesus – (Lk 4: 18).
The final Apostolic Exhortation “Querida Amazonia” (2nd. Feb 2020) calls for a missionary Church reaching out, a church that serves and accompanies the peoples (of the Amazon in this case) a Church that is samaritan and merciful, living in solidarity with all peoples, no matter their colour, culture, class, age, or creed knowing that there was a place at the table of God for them.
“I am excited by all this” she says, as she describes how she felt at once identified with all that was happening around her and with the commitment as Presentation Sisters to the Spirituality of ‘being in Communion’, reminding us that we are all one sacred community knowing too, that:
“There is no lesson in the fern except uncurling slowly, one green frond at a time; learning to do well in dark places; letting growth come from the underside of things” (Kathleen Cain: Congregational Gathering 2012).
Catherine has always sensed the resonance that exists between the back history of her own country (Ireland) with all its land difficulties, land-lordship, poverty, and hunger (famine) and how this somehow mirrors the story of the Ecuadorian land culture or at the very least, has provided her with a clear inroad into understanding and sharing the lived experience of these people. “True, when I first arrived, I wasn’t ready for the contrasts, the beauty of the place, the Eco diversity and the poverty, but I have had no regrets. Every step I have taken has prepared me for the next one – at no stage have I ever feel misplaced or lost”.
Sr. Catherine Codd, PBVM
Note: this article first appeared in the Summer 2020 Issue of Bachloga: the Seasonal Magazine of the Presentation Sisters Union (North East Ireland) – the North East Province (NEP).