The apostolic prelature of Cristalandia in central western Brazil covers a vast area of over 24,000 square miles (62,000 km²) – larger than many European countries. It has 17 parishes and its close-on 177,000 Catholic faithful live widely scattered. There are just 16 priests to minister to them pastorally, and the distances are vast, so that this pastoral care represents a massive challenge.
The situation is further complicated by the numerous neo-Pentecostal sects, who are spreading everywhere, throughout Brazil. Thanks to the obligatory „tithes“ they demand from their members, the „temples“ of the sects are springing up everywhere, in almost every single settlement.
Bishop Wellington de Queiroz Vieira, who has been in charge of the prelature only since last year, wants to able to be close to his Catholic faithful. Consequently, he is constantly travelling, visiting the various parishes. He also wants to generally strengthen the pastoral care within his prelature and consequently plans to improve the training of the catechists and intensify the catechetical outreach, in order to root the Catholic faithful more deeply and solidly in their faith. He especially wants to encourage better preparation for the sacraments of baptism and matrimony and greater help for families, in particular by helping them to see marriage and family not merely as „one option among many“ but as a real vocation. He also wants to encourage prayer within the family, knowing that generally speaking the family is the first and best „school of love and faith“ and the first the children will experience. And he is encouraging Bible courses as well, to help people to better know and understand the Good News of the Gospel. And finally, he wants to encourage youth work and the vocations apostolate.
With all this in mind, and given the massive distances the bishop has to cover within his prelature, he evidently needs a solid and robust all-terrain vehicle. For it hardly needs saying that the roads in this vast, rural region leave much to be desired. He has turned to ACN for help, and we are proposing a contribution of 15,600 Euros, so that he can obtain a suitable vehicle.