By Christopher Wells
Midway through the Synod for the Amazon, Bishop Francis Alleyne, O.S.B., of Georgetown, Guyana, says he believes the Synod will give “some renewal, some refreshment, a strengthening,” that will allow the Church “to see some possibilities that were there, but were perhaps not paid attention to”.
Speaking with Vatican News, Bishop Alleyne praised the discussions in the Synod, saying the ability of participants to share ideas, and to hear the ideas of others “opened channels” that could be “further explored”. At the same time, he acknowledged that the Synod might not find “answers or conclusions right away” but said the meeting would open up “further ways”.
He said that many of the concerns voiced in the Synod Hall reflected challenges in his own Diocese, while others did not have the same impact. But “one thing that stands out”, he said, “is the genuine com-passion and passion from the pastors” – not the “authority area of the Church,” but the real concerns of the “men on the ground”.
A member of the Order of St Benedict, Bishop Alleyne noted that many of his fellow Bishops at the Synod are also religious. He said that one of the gifts religious men and women bring is that of “community”, which can help when facing the challenges of mission and evangelization.
Asked about vocations among the indigenous people, the Bishop said, “If the Church gives a genuine witness, it is something that the people themselves would warm to – and I do see where a genuine witness has drawn some of the indigenous people to religious life”. Sharing his own observations, Bishop Alleyne said, “I have seen qualities that are nurtured in the [indigenous] culture that I find very suitable religious life”; and, he added, “if they took that step, it would be a continuum, a step further for their culture”.
Bishop Francis Alleyne spoke with Sr Bernadette Reis, F.S.P., and Christopher Wells for this report.