Sunday, December 2, 2019, marks the beginning of the Season of Advent. It is a time of hope and yearning for peace, as we anticipate the coming of Christ into our troubled history. It is a time, also, of joy and love, as we remember the birth of Jesus at Christmas. 

Pray with the Journey of Hope Advent Guide

This prayer companion for the lighting of the Advent wreath in preparation for the Synod on the Amazon in 2019 is produced by members of  the Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries in Washington, D.C.

Click here to download the guide

Each week the guide offers some of the Scripture readings for that week of Advent, an excerpt from the preparatory document for the Synod on the Amazon released by the Vatican and a closing prayer.

This year, we take this journey as the worldwide Catholic Church prepares for next year’s Synod on the Amazon that seeks to examine and reimagine the Church’s way of being present in the Amazon and how to accompany and stand in solidarity with indigenous and campesino communities in the region that face many threats to their people, environment and way of life. Those of us concerned about the impacts of extractive industries on humanity and our common home also commemorate the 70th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights (1948).

Listen to the peoples of Amazonia

During this Season of Advent, the members of the Inter-religious Working Group on Extractive Industries invite you to join us on this journey of hope, particularly as we are attentive to the challenges that indigenous communities and environmental human rights defenders face throughout the world, including in the Amazon region of South America. They are the “first responders” and “protectors of creation,” like John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness, and for their courageous defense of their ancestral lands, waters and territories, they have been the targets of repression by international mining companies and governments eager to make a profit.

“Today the cry of the Amazonia to the Creator is similar to the cry of God’s People in Egypt,” according to the Synod preparatory document released by the Vatican.

“It is a cry of slavery and abandonment, which clamors for freedom and God’s care. It is a cry that yearns for the presence of God, especially when the Amazonian peoples, in order to defend their lands, stumble upon the criminalization of protest – both by the authorities and public opinion – or when they witness the destruction of the rainforest, which serves as their ancient habitat; or when the waters of their rivers are filled with deadly substances instead of life.”

The significance of this Pan-Amazonian Synod extends beyond the Amazon region and has implications for the whole Church and all people concerned about the future of our planet. We hear and see the suffering due to an extractive model of development in many parts of the world including the Congo Basin, the biological corridor of Central America, the tropical forest of Asia in the Pacific, and the Guarani water system.

This Pan-Amazonian Synod asks each of us to consider: How can we move away from an economy of exclusion and help answer the call in Laudato Si’ to build an integral ecology?

The Season of Advent reminds us that, even amidst this reality, we are people of hope, and we worship a God of hope.

In that spirit, we invite you each week to reflect on an excerpt from the Sunday readings and an excerpt from the preparatory document for the Amazon synod, and then light the appropriate candle(s) while offering a simple prayer.