Pre-Synod indigenous performance at Vatican

An indigenous performance at a tree planting ceremony in the Vatican gardens on Friday celebrated the feast of St. Francis and the opening of the Synod of bishops on the Pan-Amazon region.

The ceremony was organised by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network and the Order of Franciscan Friars Minor.

Among those present at the ceremony were Pope Francis and members of the curia.

Pope Francis remained seated in a chair outside the group throughout the ceremony.

During the ceremony participants held hands and bowed before carved images of pregnant women. One of the images reportedly represented Our Lady.

They sang and held hands while dancing in a circle around the images.

The dance resembled the “pago a la tierra,” a traditional offering to Mother Earth common among indigenous peoples in some parts of South America.

No explanation was provided by the event organizers as to why the dance was performed for the Feast of St. Francis or what it symbolized.

During the ceremony, some people carried bowls of earth from different places around the world.

They placed these around a tree from Assisi, which had been planted as a “symbol of integral ecology.”.

Each bowl symbolised a different issue, including ecological devastation and migration.

A group of people, including Amazonians in ritual dress, as well people in lay clothes and a Franciscan brother, knelt and bowed in a circle around images.

After what appeared to be the offering of prayers by participants, who prostrated themselves on the grass around a blanket upon which fruit, candles, and several carved items were set, an indigenous woman approached the pope.

She presented him with a black ring, which appeared identical to the one she was wearing.

The ring appeared to be a tucum ring – a black ring worn in Brazil and Latin America as a sign of dedication to certain social causes.

It is often associated with liberation theology advocate Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga.

After witnessing the ritual, Francis set aside his prepared remarks.

Instead, he prayed the Lord’s Prayer without comment.

One of the statues presented to Francis was referred to as “Our Lady of the Amazon.”

He blessed it.

The synod on the Amazon began on Sunday and will continue until 27 October.


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