MISSION IN ACARÁ-AÇU = AMAZON OF ALL OF US!
The Church also serves the Kingdom, founding communities, constituting particular Churches, leading them to the maturation of faith and charity, in openness to others, in service to the person and to society, in the understanding and esteem of human institutions. (Missio Redemptoris)
The missionary activity began on November 5, 2020, with a group of nine juniorists, together with Mother Provincial Sister Celia Guedes and Sister Domingas Moura who left Belém on the morning of 5, Thursday, towards the determined place, i.e. the community Of Our Lady of Desterro in Acará-Açu, which is a few kilometers from Belém. This community belongs a little from the history of the state of Pará, because in the place where today is the Church, cabanagem began, a movement of revolt of the Paraenses against the independence of Brazil. At that time, several provinces of Brazil were not satisfied with the centralized power of the nation and wished to have more political autonomy. Some even wanted to separate themselves from the Empire of Brazil. Insurrections such as Farroupilha, Balaiada and Sabinada exploded throughout Brazil.
The province of Grão-Pará comprises the current states of Amazonas, Pará, Amapá, Roraima and Rondônia. Grão-Pará had more contact with Lisbon than with Rio de Janeiro. Therefore, it was one of the last to accept the independence of Brazil, only being part of the Brazilian Empire in 1823. The Revolt of Cabanagem had a considerable reach and spread through the Rivers Amazonas, Madeira, Tocantins and its tributaries. Interestingly, the name of this movement is a pejorative term and refers to the typical dwellings of the province, built as “huts” or “stilts”.
The mission carried out by the sisters with the riverside people began with the Eucharistic celebration presided over by Father Renam, parish priest of the parish of St. Joseph in Acará, who still today continues to ask our Congregation to return the sisters to that parish where we have had a community of precious sisters for some years. He stresses the importance of the presence of female religious life among the people and, according to him, youth miss it very much.
The group of juniors was very excited and, leaving the road leading to The City of Acará, entered the raw dirt road bound for the port where we would leave the car. There we stayed for a moment waiting for the priest who would accompany us to the place of the mission to start it with the Eucharistic celebration, and so we continued another half an hour by boat until we arrived at the house of some friends who welcomed us as a point of support for the missionary work we have to perform.
In this family of friends lives the coordinator of the parish community, which greatly facilitated for us the logistics and dynamics of missionary action, because we have already found everything organized waiting for us, we already had the families that we would visit, using very small boats (rabetas) together with the young people who accompanied the sisters in the various visits to the families, which happened on the afternoon of the first day.
It was really a moment of contact with the pains and joys of this people, marked by poverty, the loss of family members for the Invite-19, and the social distancing. After the visits, the sharing was carried out, bringing in our hearts the joy of the meeting, of the sharing of life with great respect for all those present. They were moments of great enthusiasm and even tears, because the older residents remembered the work previously done by the sisters who lived there some time ago.
At the end of the sharing, the juniorists developed a gymkhana with the young people, which was a time of great animation but also of great learning, because it was the books of the Bible and its contents. This moment also served as a bond between them with the sisters leaving them more at ease in a joyful exchange of experience and great enthusiasm. At the end of the journey, tiredness has joined a great joy for all that we share throughout the day with the simple people of this community.
The next day, we started with the children with rehearsals of children’s songs and also with the catechists. Next was the turn of the gymkhana with the children filled with many games and lots of joy with various gifts, which made them very happy. At the end of the gymkhana, the sisters took the children to a field that was nearby, and made some games and games. It was a morning of great joy and brotherhood.
We ended missionary action with a spirituality for young people, having as a reference point the document Cristo Vivit, which was very welcomed by all the young people present.
Thus, we conclude our brief visit and feel closely the need of the people who are often in search of God. However, we also felt how valid this experience of contact and proximity was, even though it was for a short time. Some situations in need of a more specific listening were forwarded to Sister Flavia who has training in this area and thus all who seek us were attended.
In the late afternoon, with the rainy weather, we returned to Bethlehem and arrived home around 7 pm, married and very happy, because we brought every person we meet in our hearts.
In the hands of the Lord who leads our history, we place with gratitude the encounter with this people so dear of His heart!
Necessitamos nos fazer discípulos dóceis, para aprender d’Ele, em seu seguimento, a dignidade e a plenitude de vida. E necessitamos, ao mesmo tempo, que o zelo missionário nos consuma para levar ao coração da cultura de nosso tempo aquele sentido unitário e completo da vida humana que nem a ciência, nem a política, nem a economia nem os meios de comunicação poderão proporcionar.( Documento de Aparecida, 41)