The Parish of St. Augustine of Pauiní (Amazonas, Brazil) teach the rural pastoral workers
In theBrazilian Amazona large percentage of the population lives insmallcommunitiesof between10 and 300 inhabitants,accessible only by river andseparated from each other by several sailing hours, that missionaries can only come a few timesa year.
Some of that cpmmunities areindigenous,and mostof theriverbanks,second or thirdgeneration non-indigenous population, the population that remained after the completion of the massive exploitation ofnaturalrubber.They have asurvivaleconomy basedon agriculture, fishing, small livestock and extractives, but always in great communion with Nature. In fact, they are currently the main defenders of the Amazon and its natural wealth.
These populations are oftenalmost forgotten ofthe publicauthorities. When there isschool, itonly offers the first years of elementary and the teachers are true heroes of education almost without salary or training; there nominimum medical services.Publicinvestmentis minimal.
TheRecollectswho mission in theLabrea Prelature(Amazonas, Brazil) have beenserving these rural and scatteredcommunities withspecial and specificprogramsfor50 yearsnow. They arepioneeredon theconfigurationof thesesmallbasiccommunitiesas partofself-managed social action,and of experiencing faith and pastoralaction eminentlygroup andcommunity.
The role of thecommitted lay peopleis essential to the functioning of these communities. Catechists, Ministers of theWord, social pastoralvolunteers, members ofagricultural unions,are all members of the community itselfto the that is trained inleadershipand everything they need fortheir task, including providing them with all the training materials.
The religious Augustinianstry to visit these communities at least once a year, in cases where it is possible or when they have more population, more times. But the use of boats, with the consequent expense, and the need to have several days or even weeks to be able to do the work, does not facilitate thispastoral care of the interior,as it is called.
For leadership trainings and large meetings, variousconvocation pointsare establishedand for a few dayscommunity leaders andministersmeet, train, share experiences and receive support each other, and the missionaries.
It is what just happened during the month of July inPauiní, in theParish ofSt. Augustine, located in the southwest of the state ofAmazonas,already bordering the state ofAcre.During15 daysa religiousAugustinian recollect and seven lay members of the different pastoral actions of the parish in the urban area have been able to bring together thehead leaders, leaders, ministers and catechistsof37of the42rural communities in the Parish. In total, about120 people.
This time the formation was fullypastoraland they talk about the Bible,CatechesisandSacraments; they were able to schedule the weeklycelebrations of the Word, they delivered support materials and lived thespirituality of the leader and catechistwith moments of prayer.
The training was done intwo roundswith different teams; the first team met with trainers of the communities of theupstream of the Purús River on the way to Bocade Acre;and a secondteam did the same with the communities locateddownstream,inthe Labrea direction,to the north.
All of them, trainers and community leaders,voluntarilyparticipated inthe formation classes, and the Parish offered food and loading while they were outside their home communities during this time.