Centro National de Ayuda a las Misiones Indigens, A.C. - CENAMI

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Official name Centro National de Ayuda a las Misiones Indigens, A. C. (National support center for indigenous missions, civil association = Cenami).
Country / Continent Mexico / South America
Director of the institute Av. Xochiquetzal # 255Colonia Santa Isabel TolaDelegación Gustavo A. Madero07010 México, D.F.
Legal holder of the institute Priest Eleazar López Hernández.
Sponsor of the institute Misereor and Adveniat.
Year of foundation 1990
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) Four people in the service area of accommodation and maintenance.Three people in the office.In the areas of direct pastoral work: a coordination team with eight People.
Staff members of your institute Lay people (men and women): twelve.Priests: three.
Contact Av. Xochiquétzal # 255

Colonia Santa Isabel Tola

Delegación Gustavo A. Madero

07010 México, D. F.


Contents

Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

Centro National de Ayuda a las Misiones Indigens, A. C. (National support center for indigenous missions, civil association = Cenami).

Director of the institute

Av. Xochiquetzal # 255Colonia Santa Isabel TolaDelegación Gustavo A. Madero07010 México, D.F.

Legal holder of the institute

Priest Eleazar López Hernández.

Misereor and Adveniat.

Vision / mission statement

Vision: Indigenous peoples who achieve their own projects by fighting for integral recognition and reconstitution and live multiethnic and multicultural relations in a new society for everybody based on the recovery of their territory, its history, and its cultural, religious and festive identity.

Mission: As an organism on the second-level, Cenami’s mission is to support the integral restoration of the project of indigenous peoples of Mexico and assist through the consolidation of church and social processes in which the indigenous peoples are the subjects of their history.

Main areas of work

The emergence and consolidation of indigenous processes implies contributions and activities in following dimensions:

  • Support of multi-cultural and multi-ethnic dialogue and its public dissemination.
  • Protection and restoration of agriculture, territory and the typical community life (comunalidad) of indigenous peoples.
  • Revival and revitalization of indigenous economic community.
  • Revival and strengthening of health and medicine of indigenous peoples.
  • Confirmation of the cultural and religious identity of indigenous peoples.
  • Promotion of autochthonous churches.

Cenami always responds to each of these specific dimensions of indigenous processes with different "fields” in a perspective of integrality. These "areas" are connected and intertwined in the coordination group for implementation purposes.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Conferencia del Episcopado Latinoamericano (Latin American Episcopal Conference, CELAM)Dimensión de Indígenas de la Comisión Episcopal de Pastoral Social del Episcopado Mexicano (indigenous dimension of the Episcopal Commission of Social Pastoral

of the Mexican Episcopate).

Diocesan Commissions of indigenous pastoral.

Parish Teams of the indigenous pastoral.

Religious communities and religious in the indigenous pastoral of the congregation or parish.Indigenous and mestizoes bases.

Year of foundation

1990

Organisational structure of the institute

General: Mons. Raúl Vera López

Bishops, priests and lay people (men and women) who are members of the Association by civil law: Advisory Board, Coordinating Team (areas: religious identity, pastoral identity, cultural identity, collective healthcare, agro-ecology, territory and typical community life (comunalidad), economic community, administration, research and consulting).

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

Four people in the service area of accommodation and maintenance.Three people in the office.In the areas of direct pastoral work: a coordination team with eight People.

Staff members of your institute[2]

Lay people (men and women): twelve.Priests: three.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

A driver, two cooks, a "caretaker" [man for all], an office assistant, a secretary, a

licentiate in computer science, a Ph.D. in agricultural ecology, an administrator, a "contributor/referent" (promotora) in alternative economic programs, a

"contributor/referent" (promoter) in collective healthcare, a licentiate in missiology, a Josephine priest, a diocesan priest and a Ph.D. in philosophy.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to? And what are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

The inculturation of gospel and church; integral indigenous pastoral at national, diocesan and parish level; indigenous theology (Teologia India); religious identity, cultural identity, traditional and alternative indigenous healthcare, economic community, pastoral planning and evaluation at the level of dioceses, parishes, religious communities, basic processes; participation in education and training of priests and religious; training of pastoral workers and indigenous-campesino bases.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

That the indigenous-campesino people become subjects with their own identity in evangelization, pastoral ministry and the church through the inculturation of the Gospel and the Church. That the indigenous-campesino people make their own contributions and decisions with the integral and pastoral support that enables them to realize themselves pursuant to their historical-cultural career.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

Bible; Magisterium of the Church; Mariology; inculturation of the Gospel and the Church; church history; pastoral planning; evaluation; Teología India; charisms and spirituality of religious orders; agroecology; territory and typical community life (comunalidad) according to tradition and globalization; indigenous cultures; popular piety and religion; alternative collective healthcare and education and organization of "health professionals" (promotores); training of professionals (promotores); anthropology and indigenous-campesino cultures; recovery (recup-ración); education, training and promotion of economic community; administration and official tax registration of productive basis organisations ...

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

Processes of pastoral planning and evaluation in different dioceses; Bible and seeds of the word in the indigenous religious traditions;

recovery of basic Teología India and their current practices; methodology and evangelization; integral theology of the earth and its resources; current recovery and appreciation of the economic community; start and strengthening of education and training and networking of alternative collective healthcare; recovery of their own cultural identity in multicultural situations and their enrichment in multicultural border or migrant situations; biblical, pastoral and cultural formation of pastoral workers, who emigrated in Latin American countries or the USA (own funding and other support, not from the project).

What does this mean for the areas of catechesis, deaconry and liturgy?

According to the evaluations, people who experienced the activities of Cenami, evaluated the proposed content and practical applications always very positive, on account of their methodology, their content, shared experiences with each other and the possibilities of an answer to their problems and future projections.

What notion of God inspires your work?

The image of a creator God, a God who wants that humans work on the plan revealed by him; a liberating God, a God who calls humanity to be his people, one God who accompanies the historical process of humanity; one God who demands the commitment and concrete engagement according to his plan of salvation; a God who is near and who cares about the poor and the excluded; a God who requires change and reversal of attitudes so that humanity succeeds to be brotherly, reconciled, just, liberated, sharing and holy; all this in accordance to what He has revealed to his people and other peoples of the earth.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

We are convinced that the mission of Cenami would not be possible in historical, social and ecclesiastical terms, if the power of the Spirit of God is not present and active in the engagement of indigenous and Campesino-bases and in their social, pastoral and ecclesiastical attendants.

What processes do you use or develop to analyse reality? How are these elaborated and how are they linked to pastoral care? How do you pass these processes on?

In all of its collaboration processes where the Cenami is involved, an integral structural approach is used, in the sense that the inherent sense of reality is given of the relationships of the various historical, personal, familial, organizational, social, political, educational, "ideological" (philosophical, etc.) and religious elements and does not consider each of these elements in isolation.

We join the analysis together with the indigenous and campesino-bases and their social and ecclesiastical attendants, so that what we suggest is a methodology operative proposal, so that the bases themselves and those who serve them are the real subjects of the mentioned analyses. [probably with errors in the original, but the meaning seems clear].

We provide the processes of analyses and exchange of experience through workshops and meetings, where all the participants teach and learn, and where Cenami is exclusively the facilitator (facilitador).

What prophetic approaches does the institute put into practice with a view to shaping society?

In Cenami we have learned from experience that what succeeds in the indigenous-campesino communities, are the most urgent needs arising in their reality, which requires a change that begins to realize itself on all social and religious levels where indigenous and campesino people engage. [probably with errors in the original, but the meaning seems clear].

What does the work of the institute involve exactly? (Framework conditions? Publications? Courses? Lectures? Congress?...)

Cenami does not plan "interventions" (activities) but respond exclusively to specific inquiries from groups that are in process or seriously want to start one. This request will be analyzed in its various aspects from the coordination management, to evaluate and to determine what "area" is intended to implement. Also, it will be decided whether the activity is conducted in a course, a workshop or a meeting of an advisory level. Along with it the necessary materials will be prepared for its implementation, which are duplicated so that all participants have a copy that they can use later to “share” it in their communities and make the necessary adaptations in the scheme pursuant to the concrete reality and the applicability in the commitment to be taken. Cenami also participates in other conferences, university forums, radio and television stations, where its prospects are invited to address specific aspects of interest to these institutions. [Various errors or omissions in the original, but the meaning seem clear].

What magazines, periodicals, books, manuals, work aids, methodological instructions etc. does your institute publish?

Cenami closed its publications section some time ago, in order to devote more detailed to the work schedules, which are used in the activities. Only the areas of health and economic community publish folders occasionally, in which aspects of knowledge and practical applications are enhanced, which are necessary for the efficiency of preparations, therapeutic applications and their traditional and current foundations. Other institutions and publishers in theology, pastoral culture and request the Cenami for opinions on certain topics that they publish in both Spanish and other languages.

What do you consider to be the most important service of your institute?

The main offer of Cenami is that we exclusively participate in processes whose real subjects the indigenous-campesino people are, so that there will be effectively responded to the problems of their reality according to their own historical, social, cultural and religious experiences, which can be realized in the complex diversity of the current situation. To provide channels for such education needs, Cenami is planning summer workshops (seven weeks) with the requested topics from the bases.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

In the coordination leadership the responsible person of each “area” informs monthly about the evaluation of its past activities, so that the whole Cenami staff is informed about the various processes on which one can participate later with other aspects. At certain intervals we ask the bases, which have used the services of Cenami, to discover a comprehensive evaluation, successes and failures, to recognize the challenges we are facing and propose necessary and effective responses which should be applied to the bases themselves and the Cenami.

What are the most important developments that you are dealing with at present?

Currently, the most important developments relate to the Theological-Pastoral, the anthropological-cultural, the ecological and environmental and to the community health and economic community.

What are the main difficulties your institute is confronted with in its work?

The work of Cenami with the indigenous-campesino communities and those who accompany them social and pastoral, is: the economic crisis we are going through and that mainly hits the poorest; the violence of organized crime; the complicity and impunity of the government institutions; the exclusion of indigenous people from the teaching programs of schools; the politics that depends on foreign interests; the retarding on the part of higher church levels concerning indigenous experience with ministry and diaconate.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

To continue the experience of the integral indigenous Pastoral under the present circumstances, (see No. 16) the processes have to go on continuously, despite the difficulties, and that the indigenous-campesino communities remain committed to their ideas of justice and dignity and to witness the authenticity and the right that is due to them in what they aspire and which they feel obliged, and to count on the social and religious support that they have been always looking for after all and will be looking for.

What hopes, dreams and visions do you have for your institute?

Cenami has hope based on history that it is the minorities of the excluded poor and migrants who contribute to changing the present reality, as it was them who created the big civilizations of mankind, and we see a renewed future on the basis of dialogue, interaction and mutual enrichment of the varieties of humanity, solidarity, fraternity and justice.

To what extent does your institute support laypeople in the Church and in society?

For at least 35 years Cenami has always worked for the formation/education of the lay people (men and women) and the social bases, which work in favor of changes that the human community needs to live in dignity.

How do you communicate your experiences and results to the respective local church, to neighbouring local churches and to other addressees (e.g. institutions affiliated to you)?

Before the Cenami intervenes at various levels, which he serves, is this already known that we only do it if they apply themselves and when the various instances that are on these levels undertake to contribute with their return services. As for the bases, they are looking for our activities by themselves and are the multipliers and exploiters of the results. Exactly this has great influence on the fact that the Cenami has no publications to disseminate its objectives/aims and its method.

To what extent does cooperation with the Bishops’ Conference of your country or with your diocese take place?

Cenami is part of the Consejo Consultivo de la Dimensión Indígena de la Comisión de Pastoral Social del Episcopado Mexicano (Advisory Board of the indigenous dimension of the Social Pastoral Commission of the Mexican Episcopate). Before we get active in a diocese, we seek the consent of the bishop or the corresponding diocesan pastoral commission. Sometimes the request must come from responsible religious people of the village.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

In Mexico, almost all diocesan pastoral committees at national level are interconnected as networks, appointed by the various Episcopal pastoral commissions. There are other networks like the Enlace de Agentes de Pastoral Indígena (Association of pastoral workers of indigenous-pastoral, EAPI) who also works at regional, diocesan and parish level. Other general social networks have an important pastoral response as well.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

Regarding the pastoral that the Cenami supports following networks should be mentioned: Articulación Ecumenica Latinoamericana de Pastoral Indígena (Ecumenical Latin American Network of indigenous pastoral AELAPI), World Council of Churches, Consejo Latinoamericano de Iglesias (Latin American Council of Churches, CLAI), Asociación Internacional de Misionólogos Católicos (international Association of Catholic mission scientists, IACM), Pastoral Hispana (Hispanic pastoral) in the U.S., the Maya-pastoral.

What kind of interreligious cooperation does take place with non-Christian religions?

At the moment we have no inter-religious cooperation’s. All are with churches and Christian denominations.

What kind of ecumenical cooperation does take place with non-Catholic churches?

We have no partnerships with non-Christian churches but with non-Catholic churches, which are present in indigenous communities; with them, we organize meetings, workshops, forums, congresses, in which ecumenical commitments regarding indigenous issues are addressed and discussed.

Which theological mergers/associations are you affiliated with (personally or as an institute)?

With the Asociación de Teólogos del Tercer Mundo (Association of Third World Theologians), with the Articulación Ecumenica Latinoamericana de Pastoral Indígena (Ecumenical Latin American Network of indigenous pastoral AELAPI), Asociación Internacional de Misionólogos Católicos (International Association of Catholic mission scientist, IACM ), theologian Association of the USA, Equipo de Amerindia teólogas teólogos y de América Latina (Amerindian team of Latin American theologians).

How can we assist you with your intercontinental exchanges and with exchanges between the continents?

To let us get in touch with churches, networks and institutions that have experience with inculturation as well as the cultural and theological diversity within the church, of which Adveniat knows that they operate in accordance with the integral pastoral of the Cenami.


  1. It would be interesting to know among other things whether course participants are active at parish, diocesan or supra-diocesan level and whether courses are attended by priests, religious or laypeople.
  2. It would be interesting to know among other things whether the staff members of the institute are priests, religious or laypeople.