Support for Priests and Religious Sisters in Amazonian Brazil
The Diocese of Humaità in northwest Brazil, in the state of Amazonas, covers an area of over 53,000 square miles. It is larger than Alabama, but sparsely populated, with only 135,000 inhabitants. Some 55,000 people are concentrated in the city of Humaità itself, while the rest live in small settlements bordering the rivers and lakes of the Amazon region.
Many locals are migrating to cities and towns in Brazil. Suburban townships, in particular, have seen an influx of people from rural areas; there are also many arrivals from surrounding countries, like Haiti and Venezuela. This presents huge pastoral challenges for the Church: there are still many Catholics left behind in small jungle settlements on the riverbanks and lake shores. They are widely known as Ribeirinhos, or “shore dwellers.”
These Ribeirinhos lead traditional lives, but that is becoming more and more difficult as a result of contact with the modern world. They are also confronted with problems like rainforest logging and the land grabs of large landowners in Brazil.
More recently, the pandemic has brought death and poverty to the region. With tourism drying up, the Ribeirinhos have no one to buy what they produce, and so they have lost a major source of income. Their already precarious situation has been further undermined by COVID-19.
Brazil’s Church has been affected, too. Not only are there more people needing material and spiritual help, but Sunday collections have also dwindled. The Bishop of Humaità has appealed to ACN for assistance, writing: “This request is an urgent cry for help, since our current income is not enough to support the priests, religious and deacons working in the diocese.”
In response, we are proposing a contribution of $13,400 for the 17 religious Sisters and two permanent deacons working in the diocese, as well as Mass stipends for four priests and the bishop, with a value of $9,700. This help will not only benefit the immediate recipients, but will also be an important contribution to their support of the people they have been sent to serve, especially at this critical time.
Can you join us in supporting this diocese in Brazil as they serve the poor and the faithful?
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