It was not by chance that the city of Diamantina got its name – in the 17th century, this was the first place where diamonds were found outside of Asia. But, as often happens, those who got rich were only a few lucky ones. Many are still trying to support their families by digging for diamonds here, and while they are at least not slaves, as their forefathers were, they earn very little from this backbreaking work. What profit there is goes into other pockets, and in any case diamonds are becoming increasingly rare in the region.
These diggers spend months in camps in the mountains, trying to win these precious stones from the rocks, often leaving their wives and in most cases their numerous children behind to struggle in direst poverty. Many families are broken up as a result and many children left neglected. But there are few other opportunities for work. Only a handful of people benefit from tourism, while others, who endeavor to live from making handcrafted items, do not find many buyers. The land is rocky and ill-suited to agriculture and until now no industry worth mentioning has been established in the region.
The city of Diamantina is also the seat of the diocese of the same name. The Archbishop knows that good priests are needed to help and instruct the people so that they can live a life in dignity. As Our Lord tells us in the Gospels, “Man does not live by bread alone.” The archdiocese is vast, covering an area of over 18,000 square miles – half the size of Indiana– yet it has only about 60 priests for a population of half a million people.
There is some hope for the future in the form of new vocations to the priesthood. In fact, more than 40 young men are currently training for the priesthood in the local diocesan seminary. But this seminary is as poor as all the people in the region. The seminarians themselves cannot afford to pay for their own training. They do their best to make themselves useful in the seminary, by cleaning, serving one another at table and performing other menial household tasks. They do so gladly, and with joy, yet this is only a small contribution to the cost of running the seminary.
At the moment, the greatest need for the seminary is to upgrade and update the stock of books in its library. Given that a well-furnished library is one of the bases for the sound formation of future priests, we have agreed to help with $3,600.
Will you help us fulfill this promise to fund the supply of new books for this seminary library in Brazil? We are sure the seminarians will remember you in their grateful prayers.
Aid to the Church in Need commits to invest your funds where they will have the greatest impact for the Church that we serve. Funds donated to Aid to the Church in Need’s projects will be used towards the greatest need in our programs to help keep the Faith alive.