Tracy L. Barnett is an independent writer, editor and photographer specializing in environmental issues, indigenous rights and sustainable travel. As a bilingual author and journalist, she has written in English and Spanish for a wide range of magazines and newspapers including the Washington Post, BBC, USA Today, National Geographic Traveler en Español, Esquire Latin America, Thomson Reuters and Huffington Post. More details can be found here.
There is a new wave of social pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Antequera, Oaxaca, where food sovereignty and community ecological empowerment is taking place through a new Social Pastoral School. About 34 parishes have organized new social pastoral groups or reactivated or reorganized old ones, and 100 people have been through the school's first course.
With Pope Francis' appointment of Archbishop Pedro Vázquez Villalobos last year and the early success of the diocesan Social Pastoral School that Fr. Martín García Ortiz helped found, things seem to be turning around for Oaxaca.
Sr. Pilar Chagoya Mingüer, of the Servants of the Holy Spirit, is a practicing dentist, licensed attorney and longtime advocate for social justice. Three years ago, she teamed up with Fr. Lionel Cárdenas in the Social Projection of Faith Program to promote interest in the Oaxaca Diocese where social programs had been a low priority.
A set of mysterious petroglyphs lie at the heart of the indigenous Ngäbe-Buglé religion and written language — and those petroglyphs now lie at the bottom of a stagnant, foul-smelling reservoir. The flooding caused by the Barro Blanco hydroelectric project nearly three years ago constitutes an ongoing violation of their religious and cultural rights, say Ngäbe-Buglé leaders, in addition to causing widespread damage to orchards, farmland and fishing that the communities depended on for food and livelihood. Sr. Edia "Tita" López of the Sisters of Mercy agrees.