The launch of the pre-Synodal work for the special Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, scheduled for October 2019 in Rome, was witnessed by eighteen dignitaries from the Synodal Council and thirteen experts on the Amazon.
The event which was graced by Fr. Justine Rezende of the Tuiuca tribe from Amazon, was presided over by Pope Francis.
Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri described the Amazon as “a garden containing immense wealth and natural resources—the mother land of the indigenous peoples—with their own history and unmistakable features”, a land that is “threatened by the boundless ambitions and impatience to dominate on the part of the powerful”.
Father Justine Rezende, voicing his joy in participating in such a magnificent event, before the supreme pontiff and the Church, among his people, said:
"I thank Pope Francis, Cardinal Baldisseri, the bishops, priests, and councilors of the Synodal Council. I am speaking here on behalf of the Amazonian peoples, especially on behalf of the indigenous peoples. I am the only indigenous person present. I grateful say that the Church is looking at us with its heart and its mind directed toward us. It is giving to us, the people of the Amazon, the hope of receiving important contributions so that the Church might become more and more universal. We indigenous persons, who were evangelized, are today's evangelizers. We too contribute toward enriching our Church."