Monseñor Leonidas Proaño, bishop of Riobamba, Ecuador, advocate of the indigenous peoples, died, on August 31, 1988. One of his first acts as bishops was distribution of the church’s land holdings to the indigenous. He also initiated a pastoral center as well as radio schools.
To express his faith he wrote this “creed”:
“Above all, I believe in God. I believe in God the Father. It is he who has given me life. He loves me infinitely. I believe in Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. According to God’s plan, he became poor, lived among the poor and preached the Good News to the poor.
“I believe in the [person] that is within me and that is being saved by the Word of God. I believe in the person that is within all of my brothers and sisters because this same Word of God was sent to save all of us. Therefore, I can also say that I believe in hope. And for the same reason, I believe in justice. I believe in reconciliation, and I believe that we are walking toward the Kingdom of God.
“I believe in the poor and the oppressed. I believe that they are tremendously capable, especially in their ability to receive the salvation message, to understand it, and to put it into practice. It is true then that we are evangelized by the poor.
“I believe in the church of the poor because Christ became poor. He was born poor, he grew up in poverty, he found his disciples among the poor and he founded his Church with the poor.”
A tribute to Monseños Leonidas Proaño can be found here at Iglesia Descalza.
A short biography in Spanish is here.