AMERICA/BRAZIL - Individualism and loss of community sense: the difficulties of an indigenous catechist in Amazonia

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

São Francisco (Agenzia Fides) - One of the most important figures in the work of evangelization in the Amazonia communities is the catechist, responsible of accompanying daily life, given the small number of priests. As José Valdeci Pereira Gonçalves, catechist of the community of São Francisco, diocese of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, points out to Agenzia Fides, "being a catechist means trying to bring our people to get to know the Word of God, building a community, helping people understand how the Church works, what God wants".
It is not easy to carry out this service, often there is no formation and participation of families. For José Valdeci it is necessary "to bring the knowledge of God's Word from house to house, starting from a small passage of the Word, to see how we live it in the community, how God wants us to be more united and more committed to the Church".
One of his concerns is the emergence of individualism, the loss of a community vision. "Years ago we were much more united. When I was young, if someone had fished or hunted, everyone would gather in that house to eat at lunchtime. "This does not exist any more", says José Valdeci to Fides. Everyone has a little money and thinks that he no longer needs the community or the Church. We have stopped eating together, when you go fishing you do not give it to those who do not have it, but start selling it, because it is a way to earn money. And before it was not like that".
"We must work with young people who are on a journey of catechesis to recover what was there before: to be united, because a united community does things very quickly" says the catechist to Fides, who continues to stress that this concerns "not only the community, but also the family". (LMM) (Agenzia Fides, 27/6/2018)