October 2019: Amazon synod and new cardinals

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October was one of the most intense months for Pope Francis. He started by inaugurating the Extraordinary Missionary Month. It was a month to remind baptized Christians of their call to announce the Gospel.

“This extraordinary Missionary Month should jolt us and motivate us to be active in doing good. Not notaries of faith and guardians of grace, but missionaries.”

The first big ceremony was this, the appointing of 13 new cardinals.

The first thing the new cardinals did was visit Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

The main event of the month was the Amazon synod. Pope Francis called together 165 participants, among them all the bishops from the Amazon region. Together they looked for new paths for the Church and toward an integral ecology.

They tackled issues like the lack of vocations, the mission of the laity and the role of the Church in facing the challenges and injustices of the region. They also looked at the environmental crisis.

Indigenous leaders and members of Amazon forest communities also participated. They said they have been considered second-class citizens for centuries.

The synod lasted three weeks. After all the discussion sessions, the assembly voted on a list of proposals for the pope, to increase the Church's presence in the Amazon.

They proposed allowing married men who have been permanent deacons to be ordained as priests. In this way, remote communities who don't have access to ordained ministers could count on the presence of a priest.

Another big event in October was the canonization of five new saints. Among them were Cardinal John Henry Newman and the Brazilian religious sister, Irmã Dulce.

“Today we thank God for the new saints, who have walked in faith and now we invoke as intercessors.”

The controversy of the month was the investigation of five employees of the Vatican Secretariat of State.

The inquiry resulted in the resignation of the commander of the Vatican Gendarmerie, Domenico Giani. He was substituted by second-in-command Gianluca Gauzzi Broccoletti.

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