Following a proposal made during the Synod of Bishops for the Amazon, Pope Francis restructured several dioceses in the Brazilian Amazon to better address the needs of local Catholics.
The Vatican announced November 6 that the pope restructured the Archdiocese of Belem do Para, essentially dividing the ecclesiastical territory in half to create the Archdiocese of Santarem, which borders the Brazilian state of Amazonas.
He also divided the territorial prelature of Xingu, “and erected two new ecclesiastical regions: the Diocese of Xingu-Altamira and the territorial prelature of Alto Xingu-Tucuma,” the Vatican said.
The synod, which took place at the Vatican October 6-27, addressed the challenges facing large dioceses with few resources to minister to Catholics in remote areas.
In the synod’s final document, bishops said that “the majority of dioceses, prelatures and vicariates of the Amazon have large territories, few ordained ministers, a shortage of financial resources and are going through difficulties in supporting the mission.”
“Given this reality, it is necessary that there be a rethinking of the way in which local churches are organized to reconsider communion structures at provincial, regional (and) national levels as well as the Amazonian region,” the document stated.
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With thanks to Catholic News Service, Crux and Junno Arocho Esteves, where this article originally appeared.