AMERICA/BRAZIL - Executive regional secretaries of the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference visit indigenous communities in Terena

Saturday, 23 July 2016 indigenous   episcopal conferences  


Campo Grande (Agenzia Fides) – As part of the busy agenda of their meeting in Campo Grande held 18 to 22 July, the Executive secretaries of the 18 regions which comprise Brazil’s Catholic Bishops’ Conference (CNBB), visited an indigenous community in the area of Miranda, diocese of Jardim. According to a CNBB report sent to Fides, on 20 July the Executive secretaries went to Miranda, diocese of Jardim to visit villages of indigenous people in Terena, who in the diocese of Jardim alone, number 10,000 , and many more in Mato Grosso do Sul. Accompanied by Fr Antonio Ferreira Catelan and the bishop of Jardim, Mons. João Gilberto Moura, the secretaries were welcomed by the people of Babaçu – at the Community of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, by Caciques , Shamans and the chiefs of twelve different villages, about sixty people in all. Three of them presented points of great importance for the present moment: efforts in villages to protect and preserve indigenous culture; consolidation of indigenous identity with the promotion of native languages, dances and rituals; initiatives to guarantee respect for institutional laws regarding land demarcation. Regarding the local Catholic Church, highly appreciated , the indigenous leaders requested a greater presence. As far as possible, they would like priests to visit families to be more familiar with their situation and with the indigenous culture. Difficulties identified included poor and scarce health care; abuse of alcohol and drugs. In view of the information shared, the secretaries launched dialogue to promote greater reciprocal understanding between the local Church and indigenous communities. At the end of the meeting Bishop João Gilberto Moura said it had been a history-making day. "Our Church is alive, we are a Church of communion. Much of what has been said this afternoon will serve to improve our work in the diocese of Jardim and in the local Churches in the rest of Brazil”. The Bishop said the meeting had been the most important ever organised between the local Catholic Church and the people of Terena. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 23/07/2016)