Third Order Regular Franciscans began mission work in Brazil in 1904. Although Brazil currently has the strongest economy in Latin America, widespread poverty remains, especially in rural areas.
The crisis in Brazil:
About 35% of Brazil’s population of 200 million lives in poverty—that’s 70 million people
Over half of the rural population is impoverished
In low-income rural areas, education and medical facilities are not readily accessible
In impoverished villages, water supply and sewage systems are often unsanitary and inadequate
Those most vulnerable to poverty in Brazil are women, young people, and indigenous peoples
Much of the economy relies on agriculture, and rural communities lack formal education and skills training
In Brazil, as in all the places we serve, our friars serve those in need in parishes, schools, hospitals, and works of charity.
Reflection from the Mission Front
“When I made my first trip to the village of Kwatá, Brazil, the Summer Institute of Linguistics had just published the New Testament in Munduruku (the language of the indigenous people)… Fr. Joe Markalonis, who was pastor here then, asked me to buy some copies. I had the privilege of being with the Munduruku when they heard the Gospel read in their own language for the first time at the Christmas Vigil Mass.
Here in the Amazon we have just four friars at our São Jorge (St. George) Parish in Manaus, a city of two million. We also have friars in several parishes in three other states in Brazil and two in France. Several of the priests in parish work also serve in formation with the young men preparing for life and work in our Order.”
- Fr. Gerry King, T.O.R., Brazil
Photos from Fr. Gerry
Fr. Gerry shared the photos and captions below from his mission work in Brazil.
This is the boat we use to visit our river communities, the Dom Adriano, named for the first bishop of the Prelacy of Borba, the Most Rev. Adrian J.M. Veigle, T.O.R. (1912-2001). Among other things, he served as President of St. Francis College (now University) in Loretto, PA and Minister Provincial of the Loretto, PA Province before going to Brazil in 1964...
In a town that still does not have a traffic light, his was the first funeral with a police escort as his body was taken through the streets to bless his people one more time with his presence.
This is Fr. João Bosco Saldanha Colares, TOR, piloting the boat we use to visit some 40 of our parish's communities along five rivers in the Amazon jungle. Behind him is Fr. Rogério Correia, TOR, pastor of our Bom Senhor Jesus (Good Lord Jesus) Parish in Mogi Mirim, São Paulo, who came with some of his parishioners to see a bit of the life of the Church in our part of the Terra da Santa Cruz (Land of the Holy Cross, Brazil).