We use our own and third party cookies to improve your user experience; by continuing to browse, we understand that you accept their use. You can get more information on our cookies policy.

Rome Reports

You are using an outdated browser

In order to deliver the greatest experience to our visitors we use cutting edge web development techniques that require a modern browser. To view this page please use Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer 11 or greater

Colombian bishops address lack of priests in the Amazon region with Pope Francis

Pope Francis met with a group of Colombian bishops during their ad limina visit to Rome. They discussed the lack of priests in the Amazon region.

The Pope told them that it is important to invest time and energy in evangelizing this area. 

He recommended that the indigenous people be trained to become catechists, permanent deacons be ordained and Colombian priests be taught a missionary spirit to serve in that region. Despite the lack of priests, the solution is not to have married indigenous priests.

Diocese of Florence, Colombia
He says that is not the problem. And I can practically say that he gave me or he gave us, the bishops of the Amazon, the pastoral project.

Bishop Omar de Jesús Mejía explained that the bishops of the region have already started organizing themselves to improve the spiritual care of the Colombian Amazon.

Diocese of Florence, Colombia
The bishops are helping each other. This is something we have been doing in Colombia. What we do is that each archdiocese has been given the responsibility of one of the dioceses so that they can accompany us and so that we can help them by sending priests trained for missionary work. We even send seminarians so that they can learn how to work in the Amazonian territories.

The lack of priests in the indigenous communities of the Amazon was one of the topics discussed at the 2019 Synod in Rome. 

During the Synod, some participants asked about the possibility of ordaining married indigenous people, who have stood out for their strong faith in the communities. However, Pope Francis did not seem to support this option. He regreted that the indigenous people face discrimination in not being permitted to enter the seminary.

I am grateful for the courage Cardinal O'Malley had in this siutation because he pointed out a real social injustice—that the aboriginal people are not allowed to enter the seminary and join the priesthood.

The Pope also pointed out another problem that adds to the lack of priests in the Amazon—many priests are sent to study abroad and do not return to their home dioceses.

During the 2019 Synod, there were 1,900 Colombian priests living in Europe or in other countries like the United States. For this reason, Pope Francis asked the Colombian bishops who traveled to the Vatican to instill the missionary spirit in their priests.