Special Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region 2019

“The main purpose of this convocation is to identify new paths for the evangelization of this segment of the People of God, especially the indigenous peoples, often forgotten and without the prospect of a peaceful future, also due to the crisis of the Amazon rainforest, the lungs of paramount importance for our planet.”

— Pope Francis, Angelus Address, October 15, 2017


Special Synod on the Pan-Amazon Region 2019

From October 6 to 27, 2019, Catholic bishops from South America and around the world are gathering in Rome for the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region. The theme of their meeting is “The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and for Integral Ecology”.

The synod is an opportunity for bishops to discuss with one another and to advise the Holy Father on issues that are important to the Church. The Synod Fathers will listen to the voices of people from the pan-Amazon region of the world, which encompasses nine countries in South America.This synod follows in the footsteps of previous regional synodal assemblies for the Netherlands (1980) and Lebanon (1985).

In the words of Pope Francis in Episcopalis Communio (2018),

“The Synod of Bishops must increasingly become a privileged instrument for listening to the People of God: ‘For the Synod Fathers we ask the Holy Spirit first of all for the gift of listening: to listen to God, that with him we may hear the cry of the people; to listen to the people until breathing in the desire to which God calls us.” (6)


  • Dialogue and mission; dialogue as decolonization: According to Synod 2019’s Instrumentum Laboris, “Since the Amazon is a pluri-ethnic, pluri-cultural and pluri-religious world … communication, and therefore evangelization, requires ways of encountering and living together that foster dialogue” (36). The document also states, “Today the Church, in order to exercise its prophetic role with transparency, has the historic opportunity to differentiate itself clearly from the new colonizing powers by listening to the Amazon peoples” (7).
  • New paths for evangelization: How does the Church spread the Gospel to remote, isolated regions when ordained clergy are in short supply?
  • Learning from Indigenous cultures and peoples: “For the care of the Amazon, the aboriginal communities are indispensable interlocutors, since it is precisely they who normally take best care of their territories” (49).
  • A “conversion” to integral ecology: How can the Church in this region best present Christ amidst the ongoing social-environmental crisis? In what ways can the Church stand in solidarity with Amazonian peoples as they face significant challenges to their lives and livelihoods?


Holy Mass with Canonizations and Angelus Prayer

Sunday, October 13
12 PM ET | 9 PM PT

OFFICIAL LINK ICONClick here for the official website

Pan-Amazon Synod Update

Friday, October 18
8 PM ET | 5 PM PT

Holy Mass for the Conclusion of the Synod of Bishops

Sunday, October 27
12 PM ET | 9 PM PT

S+L Special: Synod 2019 Wrap-Up

Friday, November 1
8 PM ET | 5 PM PT


Charity Without Borders - A Dignity Rediscovered

This program was shot on location in the Brazilian Amazon

Care for Creation:

“[This] synod is a son, a daughter, of Laudato Si’,”
- Mauricio López, executive secretary of the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network, in an interview with America magazine.


our 6-part series on Catholic environmentalism

The Ecological Encyclical, Laudato Si’

Magisterium of the People

The Church Alive, Ep12: The Environment

Perspectives Weekly: Caring for the Environment

Connect5: Cardinal Turkson on the Pertinence of Laudato Si’

Evangelization & Mission in the Canadian Context:

Documentary: Ends of the Earth

WITNESS interview with Bishop Jon Hansen of the Northwest Territories:

Perspectives Weekly: Could you be a lay missionary?

Christian Culture Series Lecture: Archbishop Richard Smith on "What Does the New Evangelization Ask of Us in Canada?"

Indigenous Issues:

Catholic Focus: First Nations Catholic Spirituality

WITNESS interview with Sr. Priscilla Solomon, CSJ

Connect5: Sr. Priscilla Solomon, CSJ, on the Church & the Indigenous Peoples of Canada

Perspectives Daily: Pope Francis Meets with Indigenous Amazonian Peoples in Peru

about Synod 2019

 1. What's a Synod?
The Synod of Bishops is an ecclesiastical (Church) body established by Pope Paul VI after the Second Vatican Council in 1965. It was set up to foster “the unity and cooperation of bishops around the world with the Holy See.” Synods of Bishops meet at the request of the Holy Father, when he considers it necessary or opportune to consult with the world’s bishops on topics that pertain to the entire Church; these kinds of sessions can be either Ordinary or Extraordinary. The Synod of Bishops can also meet in a Special Assembly (or Session) on topics that pertain to a limited geographical area.
 2. Who's head of the Synod?
The President of the Synod is the current Holy Father, Pope Francis. The Synod also has a General Secretary, who is currently Italian Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri. Check out the Witness Interview with Cardinal Baldisseri
 3. Who takes part in the Synod?
Several hundred bishops participate in the synod, elected by the bishops’ conferences of each country. Other participants include the heads of Eastern Catholic Churches, members of religious institutes, cardinals who head Vatican offices and special papal appointees. Although they have no voting role, lay men and women are often participants too. For example, during the recent synod on the family, there were 18 married couples.This synod will include young men and women from around the world, including Emilie Callan and Julian Paparella from Salt + Light.
 4. What’s the purpose of a Synod? What's its goal?
Synods are not parliaments where in order to reach a consensus, participants (Synod Fathers and delegates) start to negotiate, making deals and compromises. The only method in the synod is to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit and to arrive at a real consensus inspired by the Holy Spirit.
 5. Where does the Synod take place?
The Synod takes place in the Synod Hall located above the Paul VI Audience Hall inside Vatican City. It begins with an opening mass in St. Peter’s Basilica followed by 3 weeks of formal sessions that involve attentive listening to individual “interventions” (short presentations) of each bishop and appointed delegate and hours spent in small working groups in the official languages of the Synod: English, Italian, Spanish, French and German. It ends with a big, concluding mass.


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