04/09/2011

On Saturday morning, Compass Rose Society members visited several communities in the Belém do Pará area. At first, they went to one of the most dangerous neighborhoods of the city, where they could visit the Parish Church of St. John the Baptist. Due to security reasons, the group was accompanied by policemen, which concerned some of the visitors. However, during the day, police officers started to integrate with residents and show concern about their needs. Mr. Valdemir Correa, who represented the state Security Department, said that the government had the intention of implementing a Pro-Peace unit in the neighborhood, which will also provide social projects such as sports and computer labs. Children from the community, led by Lay Reader Marília Cruz, sang a song (called “it depends on us”) which motivates people to help build a better world.

Then, the group went to St. Luke’s Parish in Marambaia where its parish priest, the Rev. Marcos Barros, showed the impressive renovations that took place in the church building. Now it is equipped with a parish hall, a bell, new flooring and lighting. That parish also produces recycled paper since March. Parishioners were able to express their feelings about the visit and also about the work of the Church in the Amazon. The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon said he was happy to notice how the Church is involved in people’s lives and how it manages to do much with so little resources. Most of the renovations at St. Luke’s were done through capital campaigns among parishioners.

Following the visit to St. Luke’s the group went to Holy Trinity Parish Church where the new priest, the Rev. Sérgio Silva explained how he had just held a prayer vigil the week before, asking the Holy Spirit to be present in his work. He also presented Mr. Paulo Carvalho, one of the local young adults, who is in charge of music ministries and youth work.

The same parish has started a mission in Icoaraci, Annunciation Church, where a group of children and teenagers led by three young adults welcomed the visitors.

Society members said they were very thankful for the local hospitality and for the delicious meals they shared with them! They also were impressed with how the Church was capable of applying Christian teachings to people’s daily lives, including discussions about subjects such as drugs and violence.

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Ruth Barros

USPG Missioner in Belém do Pará

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