We would like to invite you, over the next two weeks, to travel with us to Brazil, a country boasting the greatest number of Catholics in the entire world.
The month of April,
Will be dedicated to Brazil.
Texts by Teresa Engländer, ACN International
Adapted by Amanda Bridget Griffin, ACN Canada
Thanks to you, we were able to help
Mission to the Amazon
For many years now, Archbishop Barreto has been organizing a 40-day mission into the hinterland. His most recent mission at the beginning of this year was funded thanks to your generous help of $32,670. His pastoral team of 82 missionaries: 48 seminarians, 26 priests, six religious sisters and two lay pastoral workers – have now returned to their home dioceses with joyful hearts. The focus of their mission was the area around Porto Velho, a priority region where distances are vast. Some 5,000 people live here in an area of 250 km² (nearly 100 square miles).Archbishop Barreto de Farias is always interested in how the people in Porto Velho, are doing. Before every Holy Mass in the cathedral of his diocese, he personally greets the faithful and asks how they are. It is very important to him, especially in this the far-out Amazon region, to meet personally with people whenever possible.
With your help, these missions will continue. They are now an established part of the overall pastoral work within the archdiocese. Each mission is precipitated with a time of prayer where the indigenous people teach about the conditions of life on the land. Then the missionaries go from house to house. During this time they engage in conversation with many people. Their aim is to meet them face to face, to listen to them and understand their life situation. If the openness is there, then the missionaries speak about God and bear witness to their faith. At the close of the mission, there is a big celebration in which everyone who was encountered is remembered in prayer. Often it is the missionaries themselves who feel they have been most blessed by the mission. They exchange their experiences and talk about everything – everything “that God gave us to see, hear and feel,” Archbishop Barreto explains. It is a profound and renewing experience – “a practical apostolate,” he concludes.
THANKS to you, we were able to help
Just as it does all around the world, the media plays an important role in Brazil. Over 90% of all Brazilian households have a television today. For a long time now the neo-Pentecostals have been using the media to present their message, even buying entire TV and radio stations in order to do so. The Catholic Church is resisting the onslaught and establishing an alternative network which offers balanced Christian programming. In 1995, Joao Monteiro de Barros Junior created a network called TV REDEVIDA, which now is one of the biggest Catholic TV networks in the world, with an audience of over 101.5 million viewers.
In recent years the Brazilian government has been progressively switching off all the old analogue TV channels, though at the same time it has promised digital channels to all those TV stations that already have authorized analogue channels. In the fierce competition for ratings, TV REDEVIDA found itself forced to pay for their already approved broadcasting licenses. The station already had over 244 authorized digital channels; however it did not have enough digital re-transmitters to enable them the reach out to another 44 million potential viewers. Because there was little time, it was necessary to act quickly. Thanks to your support, ACN was able to help with an exceptional contribution of 1.1 million, so that TV REDEVIDA would continue to broadcast the Good News.
Your help is needed!
“Our roads are the rivers, streams and lakes”
Bishop Sergio Eduardo Castriani is accustomed to hardship. Twice a year he travels in a wooden boat up the Amazon River to visit his parishes. His “diocese”, or more precisely, his prelature – the Prelature of Tefé – lies to the west of Manaus, at the mouth of the Rio Tefé, and is one of the largest, geographically speaking, Church jurisdictions in Brazil, with a territory of 264,669 km² (about 103,000 square miles – almost the size of Italy!).
Pastoral work here is work under extreme conditions. “The vast extent of the territory presents us with major challenges”, says Bishop Castriani. “Communications, travel and transport are all extremely difficult. The most important means of transport is a boat, and our roads are the rivers, streams and lakes. Most of our communities can only be reached by boat. Of the 14 parishes we have, just three are in urban areas; all the rest lie on the river.”
The journey along the river takes an entire month. During this time the bishop’s living space is restricted to the few square meters of the boat. The last time his wooden boat was completely repaired and renovated was in 2005, thanks to you. The climate in the Amazon region is hot and humid, and the boats deteriorate quickly as a result. This year new repairs are needed, which the prelature itself cannot afford. We have promised Bishop Castriani 19,600 Euros for a complete overhaul of his boat – so that he can continue to travel to his parishes.
All projects presented are examples of ACN’s pastoral help.
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