From Catholic News – Guyana- 15th April 2016
We sincerely welcome Cardinal Claudio Hummes from Brazil to Guyana and we are sure our readers will join with us in praying for him, his delegation and the Church in Latin America.
Cardinal Claudio Hummes is a former archbishop of Sao Paulo and is currently the president of the Commission for Amazonia of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil.
Named to the College of Cardinals in 2001 by Pope John Paul II, he has earned the respect and admiration of the Church in Brazil for the way he has stuck to his task of safeguarding the dignity of the human person by protecting the family and promoting employment which has been a constant theme of his pastoral work there.
The main purpose of this visit to Guyana is to present the vision of REPAM, which is the Amazonian Church Network formed in 2014. He will also discuss the relevance of Pope Francis’ recent encyclical Laudato Si (Praise Be To You) to conserving the Amazon and help-ing the poor in that area.
The Amazonian Church Network is an attempt to bring together the work of the Catholic Church throughout the Amazonian Region. The network is made up of the nine countries that share part of the Amazon forest. Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana are three out of those nine and as yet are not really “on board” because of the lack of a common language with the other countries of South America. It is expected that the Cardinal’s visit will begin a dialogue to explore how the Church in these three countries can recognize the important contribution we can make to this collaborative mission.
Addressing Brazil’s bishops on Tuesday, just before leaving for Guyana, Cardinal Hummes described the Amazon River basin as the “lungs of the planet” and said that this century will prove “decisive in saving the planet.”
Lamenting the poverty and sexual abuse of children in the Region, he also said that the Church in the Region should develop more of an “Amazonic face,” in which indigenous persons assume a more active role.
This is the Cardinal’s first visit to Guyana, but he has no doubt been briefed on some of the challenges facing the Catholic Church in Guyana and the Region and after his visit will be better able to make proposals on strengthening this collective mission. The church in Guyana is grateful for the help it has already received from the church in Brazil. Perhaps this will grow after his visit.
Our visitor will also call on some Amerindian communities in the Rupununi. The Catholic Church also has a very proud history of service to this country’s Amerindians which began in 1830 in Moruca in the North West and spread to other communities in the Pakaraima Mountains and South savannahs.
Over the past two decades there has been tremendous increase in the commercial and ecological importance of Guyana’s forests.
Protected areas, Amerindian lands and State Forests have been demarcated, the environmental monitoring capacity and powers of the Guyana Forestry Commission and the Environmental Protection Agency have been enhanced.
Guyana and Norway agreed in 2009 to work together with the objective of fostering a partnership on issues of climate change, biodiversity and sustain-able low carbon development.
We hope that the interest and concern for Guyana shown by the Cardinal’s visit will encourage Guyanese Catholics to greater involvement and participation in the church and to correcting and improving what we have at present.
Cardinal Hummes is the highest-ranking Vatican official ever to visit Guyana. He will begin a three-day visit here from Wednesday April 20th with a courtesy call on President David Granger.
That same evening he will attend a reception and dinner with Priests and Religious of the Diocese at 18:30 hrs at Saint Paul’s Retreat Centre, Plaisance.
On Thursday 21st the senior church official will meet with Catholic leaders in the morning and with civil society in the after-noon.
Friday 22nd will see Cardinal Hummes and team participate in a program prepared by the students of Marian Academy to observe World Earth Day. The visitors are expected to lead an interactive activity with attendees.
After this it is expected that a short visit can be arranged to Mercy Wings Training centre.
On the evening of the 22nd from 5:30 – 7:30 there is an event for all Catholics who wish to attend to be held at the Marian Academy. This meeting will end with the celebration of Mass.
On Saturday 23rd Cardinal Hummes will fly to Lethem. He will drive to the village of Shulinab for a meeting with the community and Mass before returning to St Ignatius.
The next day Sunday 24th, after Mass in one of the interior communities, Cardinal Hummes will return to Boa Vista, Brazil.