The Missionary Fervour of Young People in the Amazon

Are you ready? Are you ready?

As Pope Francis said to the youth of Lima, “Jesus is counting on you as he counted long ago on Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano and so many others. And today he asks if, like them, you are ready to follow him? [They reply: “Yes.”] Today, tomorrow, will you be willing to follow him? [They reply: “Yes”]. And within a week? [“Yes.”] Don’t be so sure, don’t be so sure. If you want to be ready to follow him, ask him to prepare your heart to be ready to follow him. Is that clear?” (Pope Francis, Lima, 21 January 2018)

Pope Francis’ words to young people apply to the young Dominican missionaries after their experience in the Amazon jungles. Meeting each other has strengthened their faith and their social commitment, helping us to become a more synodal Church, a force for renewal, and a sign of hope for the world. The Church has also entrusted the youth of the Order with preaching fervently in the Amazon.

In the past, St. Dominic of Caleruega responded to the demands of the 13th century, under the influence of the same charism entrusted to us today. Pope Francis has invited us to respond to urgent needs in our own time, namely, caring for our common home and protecting human rights. The author would like to propose some points for reflection to young people who feel called to this mission.

  • Formation: The Puerto Maldonado Meeting was a call to mission for the young people of the Dominican Youth Movement. Events such at this strengthen one’s vocation and encourage participation in collaborative works. We feel that the voice of the young is important for the Dominican Family: friars, nuns, sisters and lay people from various communities in Latin America. It was truly an enriching experience.
  • Missionary fervour: We are excited to be agents of change and hope. We invite young people motivated by faith and love to be a part of the mission to the Amazonian communities. Missionary work will include pastoral, educational, health, social and ecological activities.
  • Personal pledge for ecological ethics: On a personal level, we can adopt responsible and ecological consumption habits, such as reducing the use of plastic, recycling, saving water and energy, buying local and organic products, etc. These actions contribute to reducing our ecological footprint and protecting the environment.
  • Community pledge for ecological ethics: We are invited to help raise awareness of environmental stewardship and to work  in solidarity with the Amazon and its peoples. We can help make known the problems affecting this region: deforestation, illegal mining, pollution, climate change, human rights violations, etc., and support organisations working to defend them.
  • Inspired by the encyclical “Laudato si'”: Youth of the Ordo Praedicatorum can live their faith with an integral ecology which integrates care for creation, the poor and human life. This way of living can be contagious and have a great influence on society.
  • The Inspiration of “Dear Amazonia”: Pope Francis’ exhortation invites us to listen to the cry of the earth and the cry of the poor. It is an opportunity to reflect on opportunities for communion and pastoral action in the Amazon: the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network (REPAM) and the Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon (CEAMA). Most of all, let us not forget to pray for the Amazon and its inhabitants, especially for the indigenous peoples who are guardians of biodiversity and their culture.

Let us remember that every gesture counts and that we are all responsible for preserving this gift of God for present and future generations. 

Let us not forget that the young Catholics on mission in the Amazon are concrete expressions of Pope Francis’ dream of a Church “with new faces with Amazonian features” (Querida Amazonia, #7) a Church that walks alongside the Amazonian peoples, a Church that is committed to the care of our common home.

“Jesus is counting on you as he counted long ago on Saint Rose of Lima, Saint Turibius, Saint Juan Macías, Saint Francisco Solano and so many others. And today he asks if, like them, you are ready to follow him?” (Pope Francis)

By Madelen Jaimes Hurtado 
Promoter of Justice and Peace and Promoter of Mission (IDYM)

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