Way of the Cross of the martyrs of the Amazon.

This Way of the Cross that we present serves to pray, reflect, raise awareness, and promote the defense of the Common Home, as well as to remember those who gave their lives for Christ and for their brethren. The Augustinian Recollect missionary Cleusa Coelho is one of the protagonists.

On the occasion of the celebration of the 32nd Day of the Missionary Martyrs, last March 24, Palm Sunday, various ecclesial institutions presented a Way of the Cross available in five languages that collects the sufferings of the peoples that inhabit the Amazon, as well as the testimony and example of those who have fought for the excluded and the Common Home to the point of giving their lives.

The Augustinian Recollect missionary Cleusa Carolina Rhody Coelho is one of the chosen as a worthy and faithful representative of the enculturated and evangelizing task, the tireless fight for the dignity and rights of all, in this case especially of the native peoples.

At this link, you can download Via Crucis with versions in Spanish, French, English, Italian, and Portuguese.

The Way of the Cross has been presented and disseminated by the Unions of Superiors and Superiors General, the Vicariate of Rome, the Laudato si’ movement, the Pontifical Missionaries Works, Missio Italia, Pan-Amazonian Itinerant Team, Comboni Missionaries, Laudato Si’ Movement, MISEREOR, CIDSE, CAAAP, REBAC, CAAAP, REBAC, Cáritas Internationalis, Fishermen’s Pastoral, and REPAM. It is, therefore, the work of a choral and ecclesial effort that anyone can join.

The Missionary Youth Movement of Italy decided to celebrate annually a “Day of prayer and fasting in memory of the martyred missionaries” every March 24, the day of assassination (1980) of the archbishop of San Salvador, Saint Óscar Romero, canonized in 2018. From Italy, the initiative has extended to the Universal Church.

This Way of the Cross of the Martyrs in Defense of Creation has wanted to collect the experience of the Amazon Region and the impulse given by Pope Francis, the protagonist in recent times for his defense of the Common House as a fully evangelical cause to which the Church must adhere.

It is enough to remember the publication of the encyclical Laudato Si’; (2015), the Amazon Synod (2017), the exhortation Querida Amazonia (2019, the founding of the Platform of Action Laudato Si’; (2021), the signing by the Holy See of the Treaty of Paris (2022), the publication of Laudate Deum (2023), and the participation of the Church at the most high level at COP28 (Dubai, 2023)

Our generation is experiencing a transformative moment in the world in the face of the enormous environmental and social devastation, climate change is still denied by many, the uncontrolled pollution rates, and the sixth mass extinction in the history of the planet, which is making great strides according to all scientific indices.

This Via Crucis therefore wants to be a special sign to relive the path traveled by Jesus, knowing that today Christ is also incarnated in the Amazonia and the people of it, managing to live, die, and resurrect with them.

The Pan-Amazon Way of the Cross has 15 stations (including the Resurrection as a sign of hope and continuation of the evangelizing task) and recovers the figures and life stories of Cleusa Carolina Rodhy Coelho MAR (†04/28/1985), Marçal de Souza (†11/25/1983), Josimo Moraes (†05/10/1986), Vicente Cañas (†04/06/1987), Inés Arango (†07/20/1987), Galdino Pataxó (†04/20/1997), Alcides Jiménez (†09/11/1998), Dorothy Stang (†02/12/2005), Alejandro Labaka (†07/20/1987), San Óscar Romero (†03/24/1980), Ezequiel Ramin (07/24/1985), Simão Bororó and Rodolfo Lunkenbein (07/15/1976) and Chico Mendes (12/02/1988).

All of them were ecclesiastical and/or social leaders, several religious men, and women, priests or pastoral agents whose determination to achieve recognition of the dignity of people and whose evangelizing task led to a violent death by those who want a system of exploitation of the people and nature with personal economic profit as the only norm.

Praying this way of the cross allows a true moment of spirituality with the feet on earth, of love for the people represented by the most excluded, and love for the Common House. It is an opportunity to raise awareness about one’s own behaviors and an incentive to follow the example and testimony of those who committed themselves to the gospel to the point of giving their own lives.