On the same land where he was born, the body of monseñor Leonidas Proaño is buried, in the chapel of Pucahuaico, in San Antonio, Imbabura province.
A century after his birth, which occurred on 29 January 1910, a series of activities are being held around the country not just to commemorate him but to remember the work that the "bishop of the indigenous people" took on during most of his life for those whom he called "the poorest of the poor", as he referred to the indigenous people.
The Simón Bolívar Andean University held a symposium last Friday called Pachamama Pueblos Liberación y Sumak Kawsay, with speakers from Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, Belgium, Mexico, Spain, Venezuela and Ecuador.
In Imbabura, the birthplace of Bishop Leonidas Proaño, events unfolded such as: the Sumak Kaisaypak Aknai ritual, which began yesterday. For today, a walk for life is scheduled, which will tour the house where Proaño was born and end at the Centro de Misioneras Indígenas (Center for Indigenous Missionaries) in Pucahuaico, where his remains lie.
Personalities of national politics, such as the president of the Ecuarunari, Delfín Tenesaca, who had the opportunity to meet and work alongside Leonidas Proaño, highlighted his thoughts and work. "Monsignor appeared as a light in the midst of so many shadows that obscured the indigenous people," he said.
Tenesaca stated that one of the main legacies of the work of Leonidas Proaño is having taught the indigenous people to "have very big eyes to look at reality and wide open ears."
His colleague in the Ecuadorian Bishops Conference and current archbishop of Cuenca, Monsignor Luis Alberto Luna Tobar, highlighted the work done by the "bishop of the poor" throughout his life.
"He is the greatest man in the whole history of the Church in Ecuador," he stated.
Luna Tobar also noted that thanks to his work with Leonidas Proaño, he learned what it means to give your life for good and above all for the well-being of the neediest.
Meanwhile, Assemblywoman Lourdes Tiban stressed his influence on indigenous peoples. "Although he did not live in my province (Cotopaxi), he is a regional and national symbol. The work that started with community radio, for example, was inspired by Leonidas Proaño," she said.
Leonidas Eduardo Proaño Villalba was born on January 29, 1910 in San Antonio de Ibarra (Imbabura). On October 1, 1930, he entered the Seminario Mayor de Quito to study philosophy and theology, in 1936 he was ordained into the priesthood.
On May 26, 1954, he was consecrated bishop of the Diocese of Bolívar, named to that position by Pope Pius XII. Leonidas Proaño died on August 31, 1988, in Quito.
Por Leonidas Proaño
Mantener siempre atentos los oídos
al grito de dolor de los demás
y escuchar su llamada de socorro,
Mantener la mirada siempre alerta
y los ojos tendidos sobre el mar
en busca de algún náufrago en peligro,
Sentir como algo propio el sufrimiento
del hermano de aquí y del de allá,
hacer propia la angustia de los pobres,
Llegar a ser la voz de los humildes,
descubrir la injusticia y la maldad,
denunciar al injusto y al malvado,
Dejarse transportar por un mensaje
cargado de esperanza, amor y paz,
hasta apretar la mano del hermano,
Convertirse uno mismo en mensajero
del abrazo sincero y fraternal
que unos pueblos envían a otros pueblos,
Compartir los peligros en la lucha
por vivir en justicia y libertad
arriesgando en el amar hasta la vida,
by Leonidas Proaño (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Keeping our ears always open
to the cry of pain of others
and hearing their call for help
Keeping our eyes always open
and watching over the seas
for a drowning person in danger
Feeling as our own the suffering
of brothers and sisters near and far,
making ours the anguish of the poor
Coming to be the voice of the poor
Uncovering injustice and evil,
denouncing unjust and evil people
Letting ourselves be led by a message
of hope, love, and peace
to take the hand of our neighbor
Becoming messengers ourselves
of a sincere brotherly embrace
that one people sends to other peoples
Sharing the dangers of the struggle
to live in justice and freedom
and for this love risking even our life
- Jubileo de Monseñor Leonidas Proaño Blog
- Fundación Pueblo Indio del Ecuador
- Biografía de
monseñor Leonidas Proaño - Radio Evangelización, 2007
- Anécdotas sobre monseñor Leonidas Proaño
- Taita Leonidas Proaño: Discipulo del pueblo, by Patricio Del Salto Galán, Boletin Icci-Rimay, August 2001
- La voz profética del Chimborazo: Monseñor Leonidas Proaño, by Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, 9/21/2008
- Msgr. Leonidas Proaño - Wikipedia
- A Credo written by Monseñor Leonidas Proaño
- Video of Exhibit on Msgr. Leonidas Proaño
- Video of Plans for Msgr. Leonidas Proaño's Jubilee