Keeping Faith in Brazil
Over the decades, many young Redemptorist missionaries have accepted the challenge of ministering to villages up and down the mighty Amazon River. They have fought heat, humidity and insects. Most of our missionaries have contracted malaria and/or hepatitis. Some have died and are buried along the river, while others have returned to the States sick or aged, but their work bringing Christ’s Plentiful Redemption to the poor and most abandoned continues to this day.
The last census states that about 20% of Brazil’s population is still living in the jungle, and the poor in the present day rural zone are even more abandoned than before. Redemptorists are still working the muddy rivers of the Amazon, where boats are the only means to visit the people. In Coari alone, there are 196 small jungle communities we visit. Two visits to each in a year is a good year, as time, manpower and finances impose limitations.
The “parishes” served by Redemptorists in the Amazon are just outside the normal monetary system, meaning they do get some money for selling bananas, rubber, fish, etc. Most subsist off of the fish they catch, the crop mandioca, and wild fruits, vegetables and game from the jungle. Our Radio Coari ministry broadcasts daily lessons for reading, writing, health, and much more, but our vision is to be able to hire local teachers and nurses to join our missionaries, which would multiply their effectiveness greatly!