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River Above Asia and Oceania Ecclesial Network

RAOEN synodality review poster presented at SCU 2023 climate and environmental justice conference

The RAOEN synodality review poster, Listening to Indigenous Peoples and Talking as Church from Territories, was presented at the Climate & Environmental Justice Conference 2023 at Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California, USA, during the poster session on 27 April 2023.

As its contribution for the Synod 2021-2024, RAOEN, the ecclesial network for the Oceania-Asia biome, reviewed the 23 synod synthesis reports of bishops’ conferences in the region, highlighting the voices and experiences of Indigenous Communities, how the Church seeks to engage, and the proposals for change. The document was put together by a small synodality team from RAOEN.

Pedro Walpole SJ (RAOEN Coordinator) presented the poster as corresponding author. Co-authors included Monsignor Gerard Burns (Archdiocese of Wellington, New Zealand), Busby Kautoke (Local Synod on Education, Tonga), Sirino Rakabi (Caritas Fiji), Sher Abdugapirov (Caritas Kyrgyzstan), Charles Bertille (Caritas Malaysia), Michel Roy (formerly with Caritas Internationalis), and Mary Criselle Mejillano (RAOEN Secretariat member).

Nine reflection points emerged that can be a basis for further discussion:

1. The economic, political, social, and religious history and context of each country is acknowledged.

2. There is much hope expressed by Indigenous and Local Communities for greater welcome and cultural inclusion.

3. Community engagement entails involvement in the concerns and celebrations of the different cultures.

4. There is much to learn from Basic Ecclesial Communities (BECs) and how better dialogue might form with greater participation.

5. The Church is called to appreciate human vulnerability, particularly when accompanying the poor.   

6. Human-environmental vulnerability now defining the lives of millions is acknowledged as an integral reality by the local to the universal Church.

7. There is a need to focus on reflection and growth in self-identity, engagement in community, and formation for mission.

8. There is a call to put more emphasis on the liturgy of the Church and not just practices, to find more creative ways in how the Indigenous feel at home in gatherings.

9. The Church is reawakening in giving importance to the need for new types of ministries and new ways of including people.

The RAOEN poster (36 x 48 in), Listening to Indigenous Peoples and Talking as Church from Territories, can be viewed and downloaded here.

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