The life of Jesús María López Mauleón has changed drastically since Pope Francis appointed him bishop a few months ago and designated him a new prelature in the Amazon. The main challenge: to create the new prelature and strengthen communion among the people.
On November 6, 2019, the Holy See announced the appointment of the Augustinian Recollect Jesús María López Mauleón as the new bishop of a new prelature: Alto Xingu-Tucumã, separated from the original Prelature of Altamira-Xingu. Since then, the religious prelate has had to adapt to a new reality that he did not expect and for which he was not prepared. “As a new prelature, it has nothing,” he says. His job is to take the first administrative and infrastructural steps for the time being. “The main task is to make the Prelature,” he says.
This does not mean that the bishop has lost his enthusiasm for working in the service of God’s people in a particularly difficult area. Alto Xingu-Tucumã is located in the heart of the Amazon. He says that there is only one road that crosses the Prelature, which makes communications difficult. Also, in its jurisdiction there are several indigenous tribes that I was going to visit but that the pandemic prevented.
The COVID-19 has upset all its plans. It has mainly affected their training. He was not able to receive the preparation course for bishops either in Brazil or in the Vatican. For this reason, he confesses that he works as best he can, with the knowledge he has. In the question of what has changed in his life, López Mauleón resorts to the pandemic. If the bishop’s life is already opposed to the community life of the religious, the pandemic has forced him to live alone, without contact with just people. “Loneliness has been a very difficult point,” he says.
For the moment he is only concerned with the creation of the Prelature, his greatest challenge. “It is artificially divided by a bull,” which brings together three parishes from three different dioceses. For this reason, he insists on communion as the main goal. “How to make parishes different, with different parishes, now walk in a harmonious way”. In this sense, he indicates that “it is a very great challenge for the laity and the fathers to work in the field of evangelization, of mission”; mission understood as the “evangelical proclamation of missionaries”.
What is the Augustinian Recollect Bishop like? Even though he assures that each religious leaves his mark, everyone looks to St. Augustine. Mauleón likes the “collegiality” of the Bishop of Hippo. Likewise, the Recollect bishop must give absolute importance to the laity. And finally, to return to the interior: “Now we are looking for how to put into practice the evangelical announcement from the personal testimony”.
#ObisposOAR es una serie de reportajes y entrevistas grabadas a obispos agustinos recoletos en los que analizan y dan su visión sobre la labor pastoral de la Iglesia