Brazil: Pope Receives Vice-Presidents of the Episcopate

Monsignors Jaime Spengler and Mario Antonio Silva

Pope Vice-Presidents
Pope Francis with the bishops, vice presidents of the CNBB © © Vatican Media

On Thursday morning, January 13, 2022, Pope Francis received two Vice-Presidents of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil (CNBB), reported the Brazilian Episcopate in a note.

According to the CNBB, after the meeting in the Vatican with the Holy Father, the Bishop of Porto Alegre, Monsignor Jaime Spengler, and the Bishop of Roraima, Monsignor Mario Antonio Silva, visited Vatican Radio.

The Auxiliary Bishop of Rio de Janeiro and the entity’s Secretary-General, Monsignor Joel Portella Amado, didn’t take part in the meeting as he is sick with COVID-19. Neither was Monsignor Walmor de Oliveira able to participate due to the floods in Bahia and Minas Gerais.

Listen, Speak and Give Thanks

 According to the note, the meeting was a unique moment to listen, talk and give thanks. Both Prelates shared with journalist Silvonei José the topics addressed by Pope Francis in a meeting that they described as “simple” and “fraternal,” in which the Pope spurred and encouraged them to advance, to go forward, making them understand also “the necessity of tenderness and closeness,” an affection that, “as Church, we must transmit to all the people.” In Monsignor Spengler’s words, the Pope is very conscious of “what we live and do in Brazil.”

Programmed in the order of the day among other things was sharing a general view of what was treated in the 58th General Assembly and how the next one will be, with the approval of the Document on the Word of God in the life of the communities and the forthcoming vote on the translation of the Missal.

Also discussed were the challenges of Brazil’s Pius College in Rome, with an effort to increase the number of students; the 15 years since the Aparecida Assembly, whose commemorations will begin in May, which led the Pontiff to point out that “we must still advance in regard to what the Document indicated.”

A Pope Who Speaks to the Heart

 “Pope Francis is a man who has hope,” said Monsignor Silva. “And, in the measure in which he trusts the people, the Church, he opens paths with his creativity, now with a word, now with a gesture, with silence,” he added.

The Bishop of Rome was invited to visit Amazonia and also the region of the Missions, in Rio Grande do Sul, where the Jesuit-Guarani reductions are found. “In his heart, in his look, in his face, in his way of speaking,” the will is perceptible “of his being with our people, and with our communities,” recalled the Bishop of Roraima.

The present political, economic and social situation of the country was also addressed during the meeting. In this connection, the Holy Father pointed out what Fratelli Tutti proposes for our communities,” explained the Archbishop of Porto Alegre. In face of a challenging time, which calls for “prudence, discernment, prayer and the capacity for dialogue” on our part, it is a challenging time that is summarized in the word “build bridges.”

His Holiness did not fail to ask the two Brazilian Bishops to pray for him. At the same time we know, explained the Bishop of Roraima, “that he prays a lot for our Church in Brazil, in Amazonia, and he is a man who speaks from the heart.” “If we could ask the Holy Spirit for a grace today, it is that we may have the capacity to speak to the heart of the people in this year 2022,” he concluded.

AND CELAM, the informative system of the Latin American Episcopal Council, pointed out that Monsignor Mario Antonio Silva also highlighted during the conversation with the Holy Father “the ecological question, looking at Amazonia and also at the whole world.” This ecological question is, according to the Bishop of Roraima, a development of Aparecida, “which then Pope Francis portrays forcefully and clearly  in Laudato Si’, in the call to ecological conversion in which all of us, women and men must embrace integral ecology courageously.” 

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester