Members of the CELAM Presidency with Pope Francis Members of the CELAM Presidency with Pope Francis 

Pastors of Nicaragua encouraged to be messengers of reconciliation

Cardinal Leopoldo Brenes, Archbishop of Managua in Nicaragua, speaks about the Pope’s solidarity with the Church in Nicaragua, and his invitation to its ministers to be messengers of reconciliation and hope.

By Patricia Ynestroza

Cardinal Archbishop Leopolda Brenes of Nicaragua spoke to Vatican News at a press conference for the release of a new document by CELAM, the Episcopal Conference of Latin America.  

At the conference, which took place at the Vatican Radio headquarters, the Nicaraguan Cardinal said that, in view of the difficult situation in his country, it is necessary to walk in communion.

Echoing what Pope Francis said to him in a papal audience with the Presidency of CELAM, Cardinal Brenes said that the pastors of Nicaragua must be messengers of reconciliation and hope.

He added that there is much tension in families, and that it is necessary to be promoters of peace.

Your Eminence, the Pope addressed the situation in your country.

Of course, it was sure that this topic would be addressed with the Pope. He is well-informed and knows the situation very well, and he just asked me some details, and I gave him my opinion. He showed solidarity with us, and invited us to continue with pastoral work, to be messengers of reconciliation, and messengers of hope. We can’t lament certain situations that we see. We cannot be looking backwards, but we must always go forward, and above all walk in communion, in closeness. The Pope reminds us of shepherds, who have to go in front, in the middle, and behind, accompanying their people. And this is what he invites us to as pastors in the Church on pilgrimage in Nicaragua.

Last week, at the "Cry for Peace" initiative organized by the Community of Sant'Egidio, we also prayed for peace in Nicaragua.

I believe that it is always necessary to pray for peace, and not only for socio-political situations and problems, but rather to pray for peace for the heart. If a heart is not at peace, not reconciled, there is something that is missing. I think we always have to pray for peace in our hearts, so that this can spread, first of all, to the family. There is much tension in families, much tension between neighbors. There must always be a call to pray for peace, to be promoters of peace, like the Church. The great work that the Church does in the World Day of Prayer for Peace, the first of January of each year, is making a great impact, and is appreciated by all.  Praying for peace as a great desire of the Lord, who asks us to be true promoters of peace.

As members of the Presidency, you had an audience with Pope Francis. What topics did you address?

Our intention was to deliver to Pope Francis the product of the reflection of the Ecclesial Assembly that we developed last year, as requested by the Pontiff. Many brother bishops were asking the Holy Father to encourage a sixth Conference. The Pope, however, told us that we were still in debt to the Conference of Aparecida, with regard to so many topics that have not yet been exhausted, so he presented the idea of an Assembly, which is what happened last year. It was wonderful, and there was no idea of presenting a book, as we did, but rather we thought of presenting a synthesis of the reflections that were made. This is what was presented to the Pope as a first indication, because we, as the Presidency, will then send it to all the Episcopal Conferences so that it can begin to be studied. Because there are so many beautiful things that were said. But they are not part of a project, but rather the product of the reflections of more than a thousand people, because about a hundred people attended in Mexico, but at a virtual level more than a thousand people participated. And behind the thousand, there was another number that had been working in the parishes.

How has the process of synodality been carried out in your country?

I believe that Latin America has been on a journey for a long time, living in synodality. Perhaps we do not use the term ‘synodality’, but even though we use the term ‘communion’, the experiences we have had from the various assemblies of the Latin American Episcopate have given us a whole experience. And for us in Central America, it has also been wonderful, because SEDAC [the Episcopal Secretariat of Central America] is an organization that is older than CELAM. We came about first, and that journey together has grown into something that is very important, the friendship between we bishops. And we have already been feeling this, in this work that the Holy Father is now proposing to us, defining the synodality of walking together, and I think it is very positive for Latin America in a special way.

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02 November 2022, 13:52