Latin America

Bolivia. The ritual of potato planting.

Before planting, Quechua farmers ask Pachamama (mother-earth) for permission. Pachamama is the fertility goddess  who presides over planting and harvesting. Then the Ispallamama (spirits) are invoked. The sowing of the potato begins with the preparation of the land. Farmers select a fertile land, which has rested for two or three years; then they leave the…

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Mexico. “Until dignity becomes the custom”.

The Miguel Agustín Pro Juarez Human Rights Centre (Centro ProDH),founded by the Jesuits, is celebrating its 30th year. A path in defence of human rights especially in the most disadvantaged sectors in Mexico. Father Jesús Maldonado, founder of the Centre tell us its story. During these 30 years we have been accompanying many of those…

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Colombia. An Amazonian Church.

Rethink the figure of the priest in light of the indigenous experience. Involving the missionary laity. Defence of the environment. We talked with Mons. Joselito Carreño Quiñones, Bishop of the Vicariate of Puerto Inírida.  The Vicariate of Puerto Inírida includes the Colombian department of Guainía and the southern part of the department of Vichada, south…

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Panama. Sombrero Pintao, a national heritage.

The Panama’s sombrero pintao (painted hat) is worn during dances, parties and by farmers working in the fields to protect themselves from the sun. It is one of the most characteristic garments of the Panamanian folklore, and now it has become part of  UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. Although there is little documentation on the origin…

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The Church in the Amazon. A new way of being present.

Bishop Emeritus of Xingu, Erwin Krautler, traces the history of the Church in the Amazon. “With its feet on the ground”. The history of the Church in the Amazon differs greatly from the history of the Church in other parts of Brazil. Half of Brazil’s area was forgotten for centuries by the dioceses of central,…

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Bolivia .The first hair cut.

The first haircut of a boy or a girl is a sacred act in the Quechua culture, therefore it is performed during a special ceremony. The role of the godfather. The uma rutuku (first haircut) is a significant event in the life of an Andean Quechua and Aymara child. The first hair cut is a…

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Brazil. Horizons of hope.

A place where children find understanding and dignity. Comboni Missionary Father Saverio Paolillo explains. In the Marcos Moura quarter, in the outskirts of Santa Rita, a town in the state of Paraíba in north-east Brazil, an initiative called Project Legal is in action. A group of men and women take in children and maladjusted adolescents.…

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Mons. Angelelli. “The Romero of Argentina”.

On last 27 April, in La Rioja, Bishop Angelelli, together with two priests and a layman, was beatified: all four were killed during the time of the dictatorship because of their preferential option for the poor. A bishop must always “turn one ear to the Gospel and the other to the people”. The Argentine Enrique…

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Bolivia. The sacrifice of the white lamb.

The ceremony of the offering to the Pachamama to restore balance in the family. A simple ritual but full of symbology. The offering to the Pachamama for the protection of the family may be performed according to tradition in order to maintain harmony with the God of life, with the human community and the cosmos.…

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Pan-Amazon Synod. Opening New Pathways.

A vast consultation process involving many communities in Amazonia. A new way of being Church. Respecting ‘Our common home’. The role of women.  Speaking with Mexican Mauricio Lopez Oropeza, executive secretary of the Pan-Amazon Ecclesial Network (REPAM) and member of the Pre-Synod Council. At six months from the Pan-Amazon Synod. How are the preparations going?…

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Brazil. Prisons Without Walls.

In Brazil, where prisons are places of violence and the rate of re-offending is as high as 80%, there are also penitentiaries where the detainees succeed in changing. The secret? Trust, because nobody is beyond redemption. An experience born of a Christian context. Cleubert was born into a poor and afflicted family, of an alcoholic…

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Women’s Resistance to Mining.

Throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America, there is no dearth of stories where communities have been forced to leave their lands to make way for…

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The man with seven dogs

Once upon a time, there lived a man called John who was a hunter as well as a magician. John had seven dogs and seven large…

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Youth & Mission

The Future of the Natural World.

We humans, the species on this planet with the large brains, so-called intelligence and abilities and power to change the face of our planet, are doing…

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