Christmas is almost at the door step and we are at the end of another year, they seem to come around faster and faster!
As we look back we remember the people who have been part of our lives and express our gratitude to God for all the suffering, the losses, the joys and blessings we have received and shared throughout the year. Thanks to you we have been able to alleviate hardship and bring about a little more dignity, joy and love in the lives of the people around us particularly those in need.
As the year comes to a close there are many special activities evaluations and celebrations such as:
On November 21st we celebrated `Consciencia Negra’ Day, in the parish, we have two quilombola communities where descendants of African slaves live and keep alive some of their African traditions. There were many workshops and activities throughout the day which came to a close with an open air Afro-Brazilian Mass during which we remembered and prayed for the people of Africa especially those suffering from Wars and the dreadful disease of Ebola. It seems that the G8s and 20’s of this world have little interest in alleviating such tragedies.
A lot of mission activities took place this year which was a response to the appeal by Pope Francis to go out to the high ways and bye ways. One of the highlights was the large number of young people who went on mission to the neighbouring communities and parishes. They visited the homes, prayed with the people and shared their stories.
In Brazil September is Bible month and this year the gospel Matthew was studied, the theme being – Missionary Disciples — with the mandate “Go out to the whole world ” Mt 28, 19
Two community kitchens were built in the parish this year, while there was a builder, electrician and; engineer responsible for the overall construction, the people of the community got together like a `meitheal” in the old days. They cleared the site, dug the foundation and put on the roof. This brought great joy as the kitchen, like in any home, is the heart of the community.
At the end of our neighbourhood there is a growing Guarani village or aldeia’. Being a nomadic people there is constant migration from Argentina, Paraguay, Chile and south of Brazil to the “terra sem males”(Cananéia and Region) due to reservation rights, preservation of culture and peoples etc. Our community has a long standing relationship with the Guarani and each month we visit the village to accompany the mothers and children. The visit by the local women is greatly valued, respecting and learning from each other’s culture, song, dance, arts and crafts, stories are told, and food is shared as well as concern for the well-being of the children.
In 2015 we celebrate 40 years of the diocese of Registro. Our bishop Dom José Luiz who retires in three years’ time says as he won’t be around for the 50th so he wants to be able to celebrate with the people now. The commemorations begin in February with the 17 parishes going on Pilgrimage to the national Shrine of N.S Aparecida. There are over 300 going from our parish alone! As we write Dom Jose is having radium treatment, he is an extremely pastoral man and very dedicated (a pope Francis type of man), pray for him. At parish level we have a new parish priest, Fr Alessandro who is from the neighbouring town and the first diocesan Brazilian ever in the parish. He is a very talented young man who believes in team work and we work very well together attending to the many demands of the parish. However all this is about to change as Bridget, after 21 years of service and commitment to the people of the Diocese of Registro, will be returning to Ireland in the beginning of the year, a little earlier than planned due to a congregational appointment. Ann will stay on in the parish until the end of the year and then move to Sao Paulo.
If nothing ever changed, there’d be no butterflies’ .
We wish to thank you for your prayers, generosity and interest in our mission, also those who came to visit. May you and yours be blessed with good health, joy and wisdom “for unto us a Child is born…”
Love and best wishes,
Sr. Bridget O’Driscoll OP and Sr. Ann Griffin MSHR