The Diocese of Iquique, located in the north of Chile, is embarking on a synodal journey by developing Pastoral Guidelines for the years 2023 – 2025. A small intercultural fraternity of FMM sisters is actively participating in this process ‘Synodal Church, Church on the Move’. Since 2018, the Chilean Church, strongly challenged by society, internal difficulties and by Pope Francis who visited Chile in January 2018, has entered into a profound process of discernment. In October 2021, it initiated a synodal process at the national level, aligning itself with the synodal process of the Latin American and Universal Church. The goal of this process is the ongoing pursuit of fidelity to Jesus and the Gospel, as well as discerning the changes and conversions we need to undertake to build more Gospel-centered relationships. We hope thus to respond to the desire to become a more synodal, fraternal, missionary, poor and with the poor, prophetic, and hopeful Church. In April 2022, we joyfully received the news of the appointment of Brother Isauro Covilli OFM as the new bishop of Iquique. With his arrival in our northern lands, this synodal process has gained momentum for the diocesan church. To this end, the brother Bishop convened several disciples of Jesus: priests, religious, laity with pastoral experience and in methodologies, entrusting them with the responsibility of leading forward and in continuity with the work carried out by the synodal commission, an ecclesial journey aimed at invigorating the life of the Spirit within the communities and, simultaneously, formulating Diocesan Pastoral Guidelines for the years 2023-2025. Our small FMM fraternity in Iquique has the opportunity and grace to participate in this process. The gatherings called “Workshops,” due to the methodology used, reminded us of the Workshops held throughout the Institute to experience the process of Transformation. In our diocese, we held 9 workshops over a few months, with the participation of 434 people from different deaneries and communities. From these workshops, and the reflective insight of various brothers and sisters, emerges an image of our current reality: strengths, weaknesses, aspirations, challenges. Examining the content of the work, certain guiding lines for our pastoral action as the Diocese of Iquique easily come to light:
- A Church that places Jesus at the center of its life and mission.
- A fraternal Church, poor and with the poor.
- Formation of individuals and communities.
- Youth and children, Vocational Pastoral.
- Family, Elderly.
- Evangelization and mission.
- Lay involvement.
On Saturday, March 25th, on the feast of the Annunciation, we held the Diocesan Assembly. The in-person, joyful, and active participation exceeded our expectations, as 560 participants in small and medium groups reflected, discerned, and expressed their opinions on the directions and priorities of our future Pastoral Guidelines. The fruits of this diligent and communal work are now entrusted to a drafting committee to formulate and give final form to the text, making it simple, relevant and accessible. Throughout this time, the Gospel of John – the Wedding at Cana – accompanied us. The Virgin Mary, with her maternal gaze and heart, continues to animate our faith, trust, and enthusiasm: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5). For each of us sisters, it is an enriching experience to live and experience synodality in a very concrete way, through meetings, listening, and work in committees. This journey and experience invite us to live the process of transformation, personal and communal conversion, and shared responsibility with the diocesan and Universal Church in motion.
Community of Saint Peter Iquique
Kiran Kujur, Isabelle Diouf, Gosia Zima