A Boat to Enable Pastoral Work in Brazil’s Amazon Forest
The Territorial Prelature of Itacoatiara, located in the Amazonas State of northern Brazil, covers an area of over 22,000 square miles, which is almost twice the size of New Jersey. In this region, rivers are the central thoroughfares, since there aren’t many roads, and flying is too expensive. The distances between towns are enormous, up to 1,250 miles by river. And the area’s few priests can only visit the most remote towns once or twice a year.
Given these distances and the clergy shortage, the priests focus mainly on administering the sacraments, while the lay missionaries who support them help by providing religious instruction to the people.
The Parish of Christ the King (Cristo Rei) is in the town of Itacoatiara and has 48 subparishes and outstations. Five of them are on islands of Brazil in the Amazon River; thirty lie along the banks of the Rio Ariari, a tributary of the Amazon. The pastoral activities in these communities include Liturgies of the Word, catechetical sessions, preparation for the sacraments, and basic healthcare instruction. The great majority of the subparishes and outstations have chapels of their own, but a few are too poor to build them.
Unfortunately, the parish has only one motorboat, with a 70-hp motor and a capacity of seven. The journey up the river is long – the furthest community is 10 hours away – and the boat was purchased secondhand. Built by combining two smaller boats, it is not fully stable in the water, and over the years, it has become increasingly unreliable. When waters are high, fallen trees are often swept downstream and pose a real danger: if they strike the boat, it could break. The cost of fuel is a heavy burden as well.
Now, with help from ACN, the parish plans on purchasing a new, aluminum-hulled boat, which is much sturdier and capable of carrying 8 or 9 passengers. In addition to being safer, this will make pastoral work significantly easier. We have promised $32,600 for this boat.
Will you join us in supporting pastoral work in Brazil?
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