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Italian bishops’ agency’s prayer to Pachamama originated in South America

October 30, 2019

The prayer to Pachamama published by Missio, the pastoral agency of the Italian Episcopal Conference, is not a new composition, but a recent Italian translation of a prayer first published in Argentina in two scholarly works.

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The prayer appears in the indigenous original and in Spanish in Indianismo (1947), a work by Mercedes Anaya de Urquidi (1889-1971), and the Diccionario Folklórico Argentino (1st ed. 1948), a reference work by Félix Coluccio (1911-2005).

In an April 2019 publication devoted to the Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region, Missio set apart three prayers in large type. The prayer to Pachamama (p. 17), described in the publication as a “prayer to Mother Earth of the Inca people,” reads:

Pachamama of these places, drink and eat this offering at will, so that this earth may be fruitful. Pachamama, good Mother, be favorable! Be favorable! Make that the oxen walk well, and that they not become tired. Make that the seed sprout well, that nothing bad may happen to it, that the cold may not destroy it, that it produce good food. We ask this from you: give us everything. Be favorable! Be favorable! [The word translated as “favorable” may also be translated as “propitiated.”]

The Spanish-language prayer to Pachamama, as published in the 1940s, is substantially identical but has a different beginning that reflects the role of the coca plant in the worship of the Andean deity: “Pachamama of these places, drink, chew the coca, and eat at pleasure this offering, so that this earth may be good. Pachamama, good Mother, be propitiated! Be propitiated! Make that the oxen walk well …”


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