Letter to the Church in Aysén Print
Letter to the Church in Aysén: "The Bishop should be Dedicated to Prayer"

by Luis Infante de la Mora (Aysén, Chile)
Monday, March 12th, 2012

Dear and highly esteemed brothers and sisters,

As of one month ago, in our region of Aysén of Patagonia, we have been living an unceasing conflict in our community, with goals, with massive and unified participation, with outreach, with the violence we've experienced, and also with the presence and participation of the Church of Aysén, in the "Aysén: Your Problem is my Problem" social movement.

There have been abundant acts and declarations amidst various aspects of this conflict. Among these, some social media outlets have disseminated the opinions of Mr. Andrés Chadwick, ministry spokesperson for the government, and of the Intendant of Aysén, Ms. Pilar Cuevas, who have expressed: "The role of the pastor of the church is to dedicate himself to prayer."

I thank them, because they call the bishop to be witness to this important mission, the same as any Christian, according to his context and reality. Really, prayer is an attitude and an essential activity for every person of faith, and especially for pastors, for guides and encouragers.

"Aysén, your problem is my problem" is a call to prayer, fruit of sensitive hearts and of the voice of the Lord who talks to us through the brother who suffers. In the same way, when nature, the work of God, suffers or is subjected to violence, when we mistreat, prey upon, monopolize it and marginalize it from others, when we destroy it (ecocide), we gravely offend the Creator and ourselves. Because of our faith, can we remain indifferent when faced with the brother who is suffering, faced with ecological deterioration, faced with privatization and mercantilism of the basics essential for life (land, water, air, food, commons) augmenting poverty and the unmerited marginalization of so many [of our] brothers?..........

True prayer is listening and responding with love, just like Jesus did, with a sincere and deep love and with constant solidarity, to those called by the Lord.

That is why I thank God that he made this Movement, "Aysén, your problem is my problem," emerge, and that after much discernment, consciences and wills began to unite, to ask for and to demand justice, equality and dignity for our people, always with attitudes of dialogue and of peace.

This is prayer, to know how to respond with love to the calls of the Lord which speak to us today, to transform suffering, pain, wounds, into signs and acts of brotherhood, of justice, of solidarity, of communion, of peace, of equality.

Unfortunately, the clamor from Patagonia was "responded to" by some authorities with acts and moments of violence and even threats of detention to some of the leaders, circumstances which created even more fervor [among the people]. What a strange way to treat people who are so brave, service-oriented, generous, prophetic, supportive, peaceful, and prayer-filled!

Prayer then, is an authentic and profoundly human and Christian action, indispensable to construct and make Chile "a table for everyone," a country of brothers.

May Santa María, disciple of Jesus, mother of Aysén, woman of peace, pray-filled Virgin, star of justice and of peace, accompany us on the paths to a fruitful and holy life, taking on the death and resurrection of Christ, alive and present, today, in the midst of his people.

Fraternal greetings and blessings to you in Christ,

+ LUIS INFANTI DE LA MORA, OSM (Order of Friar Servants of Mary)

Apostolic Vicar Bishop of Aysén

COYHAIQUE, March 9th, 2012.