AMERICA/BRAZIL - New orionine mission to respond to the pastoral and human emergency of Venezuelan refugees

Thursday, 5 July 2018 local churches   emigration   poverty   missionary institutes  

Pacaraima (Agenzia Fides) - Pacaraima, state and diocese of Roraima, a small city that borders with Venezuela, is the main access route by land to Brazil for the Venezuelan people fleeing from a terrible situation, which has recently worsened due to rainfall and the consequent flooding. In this town a new missionary initiative of the Opera Don Orione aims at welcoming and spiritually supporting Venezuelan refugees: men, women and children who need everything. Called "Heart without borders", the project involves the Orionine religious Provinces of Latin America, with the coordination of that of North Brazil.
According to the information sent to Agenzia Fides, Fr. José Sebastião Barros da Silveira (from the North of Brazil), an Orionine religious, has already arrived on the spot, and will meet Fr. Miguel Alberto Fernández (from Argentina) next month, who will work together with the local parish priest, don Jesús Lopez Fernandez de Bobadilla, a Spanish fidei donum missionary. The orionine team, in addition to working with the community in the evangelizing mission, has the difficult task of welcoming and helping those who are crossing the border, especially the indigenous people who are fleeing from hunger, lack of health services and marginalization.
The new mission was born after the appeal launched by the Director General of the Opera Don Orione, Don Tarcisio Vieira, who underlined how "we are, today, Don Orione". What answer will we give to the Venezuelan people in the name of our identity as children of great apostle of charity, father of the poor and benefactor of suffering and abandoned humanity?". "We felt - said Don Vieira - questioned by the dramatic situation of the Venezuelan people, who in large numbers, are crossing the Brazilian border in search of better living conditions. We are witnessing a real pastoral and human emergency at the border between the two nations and that is why, in agreement with the Bishop of Roraima, Mgr. Mário Antonio da Silva, we have decided to accept this new challenge".
Don Rodinei Thomazella and Don Josumar Dos Santos, directors of the two Brazilian Orionine Provinces, who visited Pacaraima to start the new mission say: "Since the end of 2015 Roraima has received a growing number of Venezuelan immigrants entering Brazil through the city of Pacaraima. They flee from hunger, unemployment and lack of health services, their first goal is the capital of the state of Roraima, where they arrive after almost 200 km of walking, dragging their suitcases, carrying their luggage and believing in better times" . (SL) (Agenzia Fides, 5/7/2018)