Mgr Ramazzini, former bishop of San Marcos and presently bishop of Huehuetenango and Cardinal in Guatemala, has long been an important friend and ally of CIDSE, as we worked together to uphold and defend the rights of excluded communities. The Cardinal has been a prophetic and courageous voice of justice, protecting the human rights of vulnerable communities against the violent actions of mining companies and standing with the defenders of our Common Home.
Many CIDSE members have been accompanying and contributing financially to the extraordinary mission of Monsignor Álvaro, in particular through the creation and running of the Interdiocesan Pastoral Land Commission that was launched when he was bishop of San Marcos (PTI). The objective was to address the issue of land rights in the context of transnational corporations and their megaprojects in the territories of peasant communities and indigenous peoples in West Guatemala. It contributed to the creation of an important platform to speak out against the concentration and reconcentration of land tenure, the dispossession of territories and unjust labor relations.
Monsignor Álvaro Leonel Ramazzini, was solemnly celebrated for his 50th anniversary as a priest on September 29th. On this occasion, a book (1) was published presenting extracts from of Monsignor’s daily radio program “La Voz del Pastor”, broadcast between 1997 and 2021. Karin Swagemakers, local representative of Broederlijk Delen in Guatemala, attended the ceremony and voiced the best wishes of the Central America Working Group of CIDSE during the ceremony.
The introductory words to the book and its title sum it all up. “The voice of the shepherd” has been, throughout the past years, a prophetic voice, a voice that often bothers the powerful who oppress and a voice that is sometimes not recognized as such by the public opinion. CIDSE and its allied organizations wish Monsignor Ramazzini many more years at the service of the Guatemalan people, as shepherd “of sheep and shepherds” raising his voice when he observes structures of injustice, according to the famous triple step of seeing-judging-acting. We extend our gratitude and best wishes to all the organizations and people who are part of his pastoral work fighting for justice for communities, the people and our common home.
(1)The publication of this book was supported financially by various CIDSE members and allied organizations: Adveniat, Broederlijk Delen, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, KOO/DKA, Fastenaktion and KOO/Welthaus Graz.
Photos by Pastoral de la Tierra San Marcos.