The second synod of the Diocese of Cayenne, French Guiana which convened February 23 to 26 saw 24 motions being voted in during a General Assembly, all with more than two thirds of the votes and some with almost unanimity.
To discuss the dynamism and resolutions generated by the Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2019, Bishop Emmanuel Lafont called together all clergy and religious, and interested laity, especially young people.
A report from AEC Communications showed that the voted motions were under the topics of: ‘The social dream’, ‘The cultural dream’, ‘The ecological dream’, ‘The pastoral dream’ and ‘The synodal dream’. Each motion was translated into Aluku, Wayana and Kali’na so that each person could understand on what they were voting.
Under ‘Social dream’, 93 per cent voted in favour of the statement “We, the Church of Guyana, prophetically manifest our indignation at the injustices and crimes of yesterday and today”. They called for an end to the injustice against the indigenous people. “We decide to make ourselves closer and more attentive to the life, sufferings and desires of the peoples of the interior,” the report said.
Eighty-nine per cent of voters expressed the need to seek forgiveness for their complicity with colonisation, the slave trade and other crimes of the past. A call for more effective means to put an end to clandestine gold panning, river pollution and any temptation to over-exploit forest resources garnered 92 per cent of votes.
Of ‘The cultural dream’, 95 per cent agreed to continue exchanges between the different cultures within the Church, followed by 91 per cent deciding to work to establish a liturgy, cultural rites and songs that are more in harmony with the richness of the different cultures of French Guiana.
‘The ecological dream’ identified the importance of total transformation of waste management, through composting (personal and parish), recycling, waste sorting and using ‘mayuris’ to clean rivers and shores.
The need to help every Catholic to make his or her own Laudato Si’ encyclical on Integral Ecology—with its spiritual, social, economic and political dimensions—and Post- Synodal Exhortation Querida Amazonia saw 85 per cent of votes.
Under ‘The pastoral dream’, 93 per cent indicated they will commit themselves to moving towards a Church of greater closeness. Other areas of this section included the setting up of a ‘Youth of the River’ commission on the coast and establishing new ministries, in remote villages as well, with women and men.
The top-ranked vote of ‘The Synodal dream’ was at 91 per cent with the Church agreeing to give all parishes a mandate so that, together, laity and priests put in place the roadmap constituted by the resolution they have just voted.
A place for women in pastoral decision making that is recognised and valued, and the formation of deacons in ecumenical, interreligious and intercultural dialogue were also addressed.
Short-term projects involved organising a solemn session to present the Synod of Bishops and the Diocesan Synod to the elected representatives and political, administrative and military leaders of French Guiana. During this celebration, the Bishops will give them, among other documents, the Motions of the Synod of the Diocese of Cayenne.
Another project is a celebration of Thanksgiving for the missionaries and religious who proclaimed the gospel in its purity and a celebration of Repentance for the Church’s complicity in the injustices of the past. Both will be held on May 10, Day of Commemoration of the Abolition of Slavery in France.