Please say a prayer for the success of the Amazon Synod, today and every following day, until its closing. The Synod will convene 6 – 26 October. 

Urge the Holy Spirit to pour down great grace upon this Synod, guiding it in the right path and protecting it from division and error. And please say a special prayer for this Synod to:

SAINT JOSEPH ANCHIETA – Patron of the Amazon Synod

Saint Joseph served as a missionary care-giver and surgeon, soon after the first discovery of what it now Brazil.

In 1553, Saint Joseph arrived with Jesuit Portuguese missionaries, acting as both a surgeon and an interpreter, in what then was called “Terra de Santa Cruz” – Land of the Holy Cross.


There are several similarities between two early New World surgeons who both went on to become canonized Jesuits saints – Joseph Anchieta and René Goupil:

Both served in the vanguard of Jesuit missionaries to the New World – Saint Joseph is known as “The Apostle of Brazil.”  Saint René was the protomartyr of the Jesuits in New France.

Both saints used their surgical expertise and medical knowledge in the care of Native Americans. Saint René was already a surgeon when he entered the Jesuit novitiate at 33, but his physical handicaps forced him to leave. Saint Joseph also developed medical skills, performed minor surgeries, and learned the art of herbal medicines.

Both had to deal with physical afflictions. Saint René was nearly deaf and Saint Joseph had severe scoliosis. Yet neither of them allowed their physical impairments to impede them from leading heroic lives under the harshest of environmental conditions. Both dedicated their lives to caring for the physical and spiritual needs of the native populations in the New World.

Both arrived in the New World while still in a secular state. Saint Joseph was a Jesuit novice and Saint René was a donne or lay volunteer.

Saint René was horribly tortured and martyred in 1642, before he could realize his dream of becoming a Jesuit priest. He did become, shortly before his death, a Jesuit Brother.   Saint Joseph, too, was captured by enemy natives and he was nearly martyred. Later, in Brazil, he was ordained a Jesuit priest.

Saint Joseph Anchieta, canonized by Pope Francis in 2014, is the patron of catechists. In 2015, he was declared, by the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, a copatron of Brazil (whose patron saint is Our Lady of Aparecida). His feast day is 9 June.

Saint René Goupil is venerated as the first Jesuit martyr of Canada and one of three martyred in the territory of the present United States. He was canonized on 29 June 1930 by Pope Pius XI, along with the seven other North American Martyrs. He is the patron saint of anesthetists. His feast day is 26 September (Canada), 19 October (United States)

I have shared the following message with all those who joined together in prayerful solidarity during our local San Alfonso Catholic Men’s Retreat in Long Branch, New Jersey:

Please give your prayerful attention to the success of the upcoming Amazon Synod – the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon.

Let’s invoke the intercession of Saint Mary, Mother of our Church and Saint Joseph, its Protector, to call down the Holy Spirit of God upon this Synod, guiding and safeguarding it.

-> As stewards of all God’s wondrous creation, may our prayers and actions inspire an even greater determination, on all our part, to preserve and protect the lands and seas – God’s great and bountiful gift.  May we pass on to generations yet to come an Earth that reflects even more perfectly God’s glory and generosity.

-> May the Synod also stir up in us a greater sensitivity to both the spiritual and worldly needs of all indigenous peoples, not only in the Amazon, but throughout the world – and not least for Native Americans here in the United States. 


Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, pray for us!

Looking back, may we all long celebrate this convocation. Yes, the Amazon Synod was truly an Amazing Synod!

                    Oremus pro invicem.

                    Richard A. Watson, M.D.