Brazil: Mass Stipends for 18 Priests of Juína

ACN covid-19 response programme

Caring for the poorest
Juína is a municipality in the state of Mato Grosso in the Central-West Region of Brazil. In April 2020, Father Jeferson Slussarek, from the Diocese of Juína, wrote to ACN sharing the reality of his mission land and his people. His mission is an example of the pastoral of the priest of Juína dioceses. He tells us that the parish in which he exercises the ministry is made up of riverside communities, that is to say, they live on the riverbank and subsist from the products of the land and fishing. For these communities he has the joy and satisfaction of bringing the Eucharistic Christ, celebrating Holy Mass with them and sanctifying it through the Sacraments. To reach some of these communities, he needs to use a boat. He also attends FUNAI (National Indian Foundation) which helps indigenous people living in isolation. He tells us that one community that deserves mention is the Taquaruçu Community, 60 kilometres away, which was marked by a great tragedy in which 11 people were brutally murdered in the year 2017. It is a settlement of “landless” people who are waiting for a response from the Federal Government for the demarcation of land and distribution through Agrarian Reform. They are simple and poor people, marked by suffering and famine.There is also the Guata Community, situated 180 kilometres from the Mother Church, in the triple border of states (Mato Grosso, Rondônia and Amazonas).

 Mgr. Neri José Tondello Bishop of the Juina Diocese.
Mgr. Neri José Tondello Bishop of the Juina Diocese.

The community is marked by illegal deforestation, with extremely difficult access and that during the rainy season is practically isolated. It is a community that suffers from the prostitution of minors and work like slavery. Crime is rife in this place. Together with the local miners and other people from the community Father Jeferson has the joy of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice. Near the triple frontier of states there is a riverside community that, before his arrival, had never been visited by a priest. There he visits the families and celebrates Holy Mass, attends Confessions, gives the Anointing of the Sick and celebrates the other Sacraments. He feels that the people of Juína have hope of better days, and these will come. He thanks ACN for the support given: “Therefore, I want to thank from the bottom of my heart as Pastor for the help I received from your so generous and kind institution. These spores are fundamental for me to carry out the mission. Because of the distance from the communities, spending fuel and vehicle maintenance, for example, is extremely expensive and the faithful here, because of their poverty, cannot offer much to collaborate in Evangelization. In their Faith they bring to their Father a simple offering like them, a fish, fruits, or something they take from the land that sustains them. I receive each gift with a grateful heart for the manifestation of Divine Providence. And with this same heart, filled with gratitude, I turn to you: THANK YOU VERY MUCH! Be assured that you are always in my prayers. With affection, I say goodbye with a strong and fraternal ample.” May we carry the Church of Juína in our prayers. ACN will help the Priests with 10.427,59€.

Facing the Covid 19
Bishop Neri Jose Tondello wrote on April 2020 to ACN sharing some actions and concerns related to Covid in his dioceses: “I am writing to thank the benefactors who collaborate with the poorest in other lands in this world of God. We are all brothers. The intentions of Masses have helped in the formation of priests of the Diocese of Juina. We had the ordination of the diaconate of the seminarian Luis Carlos and the priestly ordination of Fr. Ernesto, today rector of the minor seminary, on August 31, 2019. In the major seminary we have 4 seminarians, three in the theology course and one in philosophy. In the minor seminary we have three seminarians. We also have four seminarians who are in the parishes doing pastoral experience. The minor seminary San Jose, besides being a seminary, in time of pandemic, assumes the house of charity. Every day 40 meals are offered for the poor who live on the street. Tomorrow’s priests need to experience poverty in the formative process. However, for this seminar to continue the formative process, we always need resources. The diocese has been able to cover the expenses with 65 %. This year it was to assume 100%. Now with the corona virus, the situation has become very uncertain. The Administrative Council is planning to close the major seminary in July, the first semester for lack of money. We are in the fight. In our prayers with affection we remember your intentions with all confidence in God. Thank you very much. God bless you.” Bishop Neri Jose Tondello, Diocese of Juína.

(Foto from the archive taken before coronavirus crisis)

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