Podcast with an Eastern Province Vincentian in Panama
This interview originally appeared on the Near and Far podcast by the Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology (CWCIT) at DePaul University.
A CWCIT interview with Fr. Joseph Fitzgerald, CM, a Vincentian priest who has served in Panama since 2005, shortly after being ordained. In 2007, he began serving at the Vincentian mission in Soloy, traveling to 50+ villages throughout the mountains, often on foot or horseback, to work with and minister to the Ngäbe people, who are Panama’s largest indigenous group and among the poorest. In addition to sacramental ministry and agricultural and artisan projects, a significant part of the Vincentians’ ministry has been accompanying them in their struggle to maintain their cultural identity and values, as well as their lands, which have been increasingly threatened by mega-projects such as open-pit mineral mines and dams.
Fr. Fitzgerald holds an MA in global development and social justice (St. John’s University, New York) and a PhD in theology (Pontifical Bolivarian University, Bogotá). Since 2016, he has served as executive secretary of the National Coordination of Indigenous Ministry (CONAPI) of the Panamanian Bishops’ Conference. And in 2019, he published a book in Spanish, “Danza en la casa de Ngöbo: Resiliencia de la ‘Vida Plena’ Ngäbe frente al neoliberalismo” (To Dance in Ngöbo’s [God’s] House: The Resilience of the Ngäbe ‘Full Life’ in the Face of Neoliberalism).