Equipo Nacional de Pastoral Aborigen (ENDEPA)

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Official name EQUIPO NACIONAL DE PASTORAL ABORIGEN (ENDEPA) (National Pastoral Team of Aborigine (indigenous pastoral)
Country / Continent Argentina / South America
Director of the institute RUTA 11 KM 1180 (3600) FORMOSA – ARGENTINA -
Legal holder of the institute Pater Ponciano Acosta, National Coordinator
Sponsor of the institute The team is accompanied by the Episcopal Commission of the Aborigines - the Argentine bishops' conference.
Year of foundation 1984
Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers) Paid: National Coordinator (full time) and part-time: regional coordinators, secretariat, professional staff (administrator, lawyers).Voluntary staff: about 150 people.
Staff members of your institute 20 priests, 30 religious, 100 lay people.
Contact Centro de Capacitación Juan Pablo II

Ruta 11 Km. 1180,

Formosa (CP. 3600)

tel.: 03717-15604136

endepa@endepa.org.ar

www.endepa.org.ar


Contents

Particulars of your pastoral institute

Official name

EQUIPO NACIONAL DE PASTORAL ABORIGEN (ENDEPA) (National Pastoral Team of Aborigine (indigenous pastoral)

Director of the institute

RUTA 11 KM 1180 (3600) FORMOSA – ARGENTINA -

Legal holder of the institute

Pater Ponciano Acosta, National Coordinator

The team is accompanied by the Episcopal Commission of the Aborigines - the Argentine bishops' conference.

Vision / mission statement

  • VISION: Better teams across the country. To support the construction of a local church, which is committed to a variety of intercultural and interreligious dialogue. To work in networking with other pastoral, Christian churches, other religions, indigenous organizations and other organizations that are committed to the same thing and Articulación Ecuménica en América Latina (Ecumenical networking in Latin America). With large influence/presence in society and political power.
  • MISSION: To be on the way with indigenous people in urban and rural areas, starting with the proclamation of the Gospel to share life, faith and spirituality. Commit ourselves to the prophetic mission of the church, starting with the prosecution and the project. Enrich each other with contributions of cultures, to contribute to an universal brotherhood.

Main areas of work

  • To share life, faith and spirituality, to enrich each other with the contributions of cultures, to contribute to an universal brotherhood.
  • To accompany the self-management process and the organisation of parishes.
  • To help raise awareness with the aim of a fairer Argentinean society based on the recognition of diversity of people and cultures in which human rights and the rights of indigenous peoples really count. To implement this multicultural reality, which is recognized in the Constitution, the national and international laws and in the constitutions and laws of provinces.
  • To support the fight for the preservation of forests, the environment and a sustainable development in order to achieve a decent standard of living.
  • To sensibilise our church for the reality and diversity of indigenous peoples in Argentina and commit it on it, in an ecumenical and interreligious spirit.

Addressees of your work (course participants[1])

Indigenous leaders and members of indigenous communities in different regions of the country. Pastoral Workers: Lay people, religious and priests.

Year of foundation

1984.

Organisational structure of the institute

It is currently organized into local teams, coordinated at the diocesan level, with a regional coordination (northeast, northwest and south of Argentina) and a coordinator at the national level.

The national coordination team is meeting for the annual planning and evaluation, the members consists of the national coordinator, the regional coordinators, the deputies of diocese and the bishops of the Episcopal commission of aborigine Pastoral (CEPA). There are regional meetings and every three years a National Assembly with elections.

Number of staff (employees, freelancers, volunteers)

Paid: National Coordinator (full time) and part-time: regional coordinators, secretariat, professional staff (administrator, lawyers).Voluntary staff: about 150 people.

Staff members of your institute[2]

20 priests, 30 religious, 100 lay people.

Qualifications of staff members of your institute

Teaching profession, health, theology, law, social affairs, communication, and economy.

Questions relating to the work of your institute

What pastoral options do you feel obliged to?

ENDEPA is on the way with indigenous peoples and attempts to give life to its obligations and to live the following:

  • Justice in light of the Gospel.
  • Respect for human dignity, diversity of cultures, the history of each nation, its spirituality, its organization, autonomy and its protagonist participation.
  • Respect for the earth/the land - as a territory and as environment.
  • Respect for the diversity of the diocesan team in mutual enrichment.
  • The establishment of a local church that is committed to a variety of intercultural and interreligious dialogue.
  • A work in networking with other pastoral, Christian churches, other religions, indigenous organizations and other teams and groups whose concerns we share, with a permanent ecumenical networking in Latin America.

With greater influence/presence in society and political power for the benefit of  indigenous peoples.

What are the pastoral focus areas of your institute?

Pastoral Land and Justice.

What pastoral aims does your institute pursue?

Promotion and protection of human dignity.

What pastoral services does your institute provide?

In the fields of law, communication, intercultural bilingual education, theology/spirituality, new technologies.

What pastoral processes have you initiated or accompanied recently?

The systematic guidance of the youth in indigenous communities. This is a challenge that we feel more and more. Primarily a concern of the elderly. Because only adults take part in the meetings.

Also to make the project a range of communication and diffusion.

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

These are points that some local teams work about. In general we give all of it more space, which is an interesting process in Latin America: Indigenous Theology (Teología India).

What notion of God inspires your work?

A God who makes option for the poor; a God who delights in diversity.

In how far does Christian spirituality shape your work?

Although we are in constant ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, it is clear that we are a Catholic church team.

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?

The method of see - judge - act is used naturally.Always start from the local, concrete reality.

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

Pursuant to the group of people, who are recipients of our pastoral care and because of the general reality that surrounds the reality of native peoples, this aspect is always included and necessary.

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

Every year there are offers of courses, workshops and meetings: youth, social-political, educator, spirituality. And soon the offer of communications will follow.

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

We have a publication that is currently not published: DE NORTE A SUR (from north to south). We want to publish it again soon.

Several publications are printed in the course of each year. A folder (triple) called "TIERRA VIDA" (LIVE EARTH), is already at No. 10 and will go on. Then, each year special publications for the Semana de los Pueblos Indígenas (Week of Indigenous Peoples) are released. Publications on issues of law/justice, indigenous theology, indigenous health, of popular method ...

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

Training and further training in the field of law in popular and more academic form. Other questions regarding this topic.To approach the theological issues and spirituality insistently.

How do you evaluate the work of your institute?

On the one hand I believe that we are known and appreciated in church and social area. Our work gains recognition.On the other hand, we are going to approach new topics.

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

The theological topic and the topic of youth.

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

The challenges are big and the majority of people who commit themselves work voluntarily but are not enough.

What challenges do you perceive for your institute at present?

To systematize and deepen the pastoral theological work.

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

The indigenous topic is more and more present in society and church. A fruit of work over the years. On the other hand, the indigenous prominence has grown enormously. It also requires new ways of accompaniment.

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

This is our ordinary commitment.

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)?

The electronic communication facilities simplify this very question. Besides, the week of indigenous peoples became a tradition for these types of communications already. In addition there are the printed publications and visits or meetings at various locations.

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

The four bishops of the Episcopal Pastoral Commission of the Aborigine-Pastoral are a constant company. Besides, the national Coordinator takes over the function of the Executive Secretary of this Commission.

What linkages/networks are in existence at national level?

We always take part in church activities to make the indigenous reality and the work of Endepa known. On the other hand, the National Coordinator is the Executive Secretary of the Episcopal Commission of the Aborigine-Pastoral and therefore participates in the networking between the different pastoral, organized by the Argentine Bishops' Conference.

What linkages/networks are in existence at international level?

We work particularly at AELAPI (Articulación Ecumenica Latinoamericana de Pastoral Aborigena - Latin American Ecumenical network of aborigines-pastoral), there is also constant participation in the Cono Sur (Federation of Southern States South America) together with the CIMI (Conselho Indigenista Missionário, Brazil - Indigenist-Missionary Council) and the CONAPI (Comisión Nacional de Pastoral Aborigine, Paraguay - National Commission of the aborigine-pastoral).

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

The support [sic apoyo] happens mainly in two areas: in the province of Misiones (with the Mbya-Guarani Indians) and in the province of Neuquén (with the Mapuche Indians).

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

It is always there, mainly through the local teams: for example in the area of Gran Chaco to the JUM (Junta, Unida de Misiones, a network of different Protestant churches), we also take part in the activities of the Episcopal Ecumenical Commission and various other initiatives in different areas of the country.

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

Apart from the important area of the already mentioned AELAPI, we started communicating with Amerindia.

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

An exchange of experiences, means/resources, knowledge, worries, search that can be done with other institutions on the continent. This creates mutual enrichment.




  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.