Jesuit Missions - care for creation in Guyana

Nursery children in the north Rupununi district of Guyama

Jesuit Missions Communications Officer Stephanie Beech is on her way to Guyana to visit partners and projects supported by JM. This includes the Bilingual Education Programme, launched earlier this month, which allows indigenous languages to be taught alongside English in primary schools within the Amerindian communities.

This is an important time of change for Guyana as it prepares to leave the British province and join Jamaica as part of the journey to becoming part of the Caribbean province, with a new regional superior. Canadian Jesuit Fr Chris Llanos SJ will take over from Fr Paul Martin SJ, who has been the regional superior of Guyana for the last seven years, on the first of October. The Jesuits have had a strong presence in Guyana for over 150 years and, as it looks to the future, Jesuit Missions will retain its close relationship with this South American country.

Stephanie will be attending the regional coastal meeting of Jesuit communities ahead of the Pan-Amazonian Synod called by Pope Francis for November 2019. This is an opportunity for the church to look South towards Amazonia, not just north towards the Caribbean. In the pre-synod document, Pope Francis says, “The Amazon is a region with rich biodiversity, it is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious; it is a mirror of all humanity which in defence of life requires structural and personal changes by all human beings by nations and by the church.” The Amazon stretches across nine countries including Guyana, of which seventy five percent is rainforest.

Stephanie says,
“This is a really important and exciting time to be visiting Guyana. I’m really looking forward to visiting the Amerindian communities and seeing how the Bilingual Education Programme is making a difference. The future of the Amazon is in jeopardy and it’s important that we understand how our actions here in the UK affect those living in other parts of the world. Pope Francis said in his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium that ‘Indigenous people have much to teach us about how-to live-in communion with creation through their close relationship with the land.’ It’s important that we learn to listen to them.”

Jesuit Missions puts care of creation at the forefront of all that they do, following Pope Francis’s challenge that, “We must all join forces to take care of our Common Home.” Climate change is affecting some of the most marginalised communities across the world. Jesuit Missions is accompanying our brothers and sisters in their struggles and working with local partners to ensure that communities are better prepared for when disasters occur.

As part of the Global Catholic Climate Movement, Jesuit Missions has been using an Ecological Examen to pray for Care of Creation and stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters across the world. During this season of creation, please join Jesuit Missions and Pope Francis as we pray for creation.

You can keep up to date with Stephanie’s trip through Jesuit Missions social media channels: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

This article first appeared on the Jesuit Missions website