Mateo Alto - Argentina

I am one of two auxiliary bishops in the Diocese of Northern Argentina, alongside Crisanto Rojas. We work primarily in the rural Chaco region among indigenous communities. Our appointment in 2016 (along with Urbano Duarte, who died in 2018) brought a change in focus for the diocese as it seeks to be self-governing and prepare for the future. The current bishop (a CMS mission partner) will be retiring in a few years, and we hope that leadership will be oriented towards the majority cultures and communities.

Call

Episcopal care of the churches

Role

Travel in indigenous areas, supporting pastors, teaching, presiding over meetings and working with the diocesan bishop

More about Mateo Alto

Ninety per cent of the churches in the diocese are made up of indigenous communities (rather than those of European descent who make up the majority of Argentines). These include the Wichi, Toba and Chorote communities. Crisanto is from the Wichi community and I am from the Toba. This means we are able to relate to the communities in their language and understand their way of life – which helps as we make decisions in leading the churches.

We have extensive experience working with different church and government commissions as well as seeing the work of mission partners in our diocese. We have been mentored by “spiritual parents”, Zeta Cain and Mariano Perez, who have helped us to learn to lead and serve in our communities, and as we learn to balance life and ministry. In addition to training with these mentors, we have received training in diocesan seminaries.

Since our consecration, we have travelled with the diocesan bishop within the diocese and in neighbouring countries where bishops’ meetings are held. We have also attended workshops on the environment.

Partnering with Church Mission Society means that we have immensely valuable prayer and financial support. This gives us strength in our work and helps to fund the travel that is integral to our role.

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