Category Archives: Brazil

Dancing in the street

Caritas member organisations around the world are preparing for World Youth Day in Rio. Here’s what some young people who are going to WYD with Cafod (Caritas England and Wales) say:

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Filed under Brazil, Catholic Teaching, Latin America, Meetings & Events

“Expect the unexpected” – World Youth Day with Pope Francis

Lilian Chan. Credit: Caritas Australia

Lilian Chan. Credit: Caritas Australia

What inspires young people to cross continents for a celebration of faith with Pope Francis? Lilian Chan, on line editor for Caritas Australia, tells us about the energy, diversity and unity to be found at World Youth Day.

One of the phrases I’ve most heard during my preparations for WYD is “to expect the unexpected”!

I am definitely looking forward to seeing Pope Francis. I’ve read a few of his addresses, and they have been so amazing and inspiring – he is simple to understand, but has such insight into the world and how we as Catholics fit in. He also shows such love and understanding of humanity when he speaks, which is so different to what we often hear in our world today.

The chance to see a pope from Latin America in Latin America will be really amazing. Most importantly, I’ve decided to go to WYD this year because I want to grow in my faith and have a stronger relationship with Christ.

I’ve had friends who have attended WYD overseas, and they’ve all come back with a renewed passion for their faith, so attending an overseas WYD has always been something I’ve thought about doing. I think one of the things which particularly attracted me to WYD in Brazil is that it’s such a predominately Catholic country, so I’m keen to experience the passion and dedication that people have for our faith.

As I’m going with my diocese group, I’ve been attending the formation sessions that they’ve run over the past few months. I’ve also been trying to do practical things to prepare, like finding out more about places, and trying to learn a tiny bit of Portuguese. In terms of preparing spiritually, we’ve had catecheses at the formation sessions, and I’ve also been trying to read the Bible a bit more often over the past few weeks.

We will be spending 4 days in Peru before WYD. The first day will be a pilgrimage to visit significant sites of St Rose of Lima and St Martin de Porres. Then we will be spending 3 days with the Houses of Hope – one of the Caritas programmes in Lima. For me, this was definitely one of the things which swayed me to sign up to WYD this year. Being relatively new at Caritas, I’m keen to see a Caritas programme in action. But even more so, I think the few days spending time with the poor will be a really important part of the pilgrimage experience.

I went to WYD in Sydney in 2008. It was a great experience – the thing that struck me most was the energy and passion of young people for our faith – it’s not something you see every day, especially in Sydney! I was also struck by the diversity of our faith – the different cultures, and different ways of expressing our faith; but yet also the universality – the one united faith which was really demonstrated in the final mass.

But I’ve been told that attending a WYD in your home city is nothing like attending one overseas, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what WYD in Rio will be like!

If you work for or volunteer for Caritas, we want to hear your World Youth Day stories from before and during the event. Write to or follow.

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Filed under Brazil, Catholic Teaching, Latin America, Meetings & Events

Come to World Youth Day with Caritas!

Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga at a previous World Youth Day in Australia. Credit: James Alcock

Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga with young people at a previous World Youth Day in Australia. Credit: James Alcock

Greetings of hope to all Caritas friends from all over the world!

We are living a time of hope and good news. One of them is that World Youth Day will take place in the beautiful city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 23rd to 28th July.

We from Caritas Brazil want to meet and get to know other Caritas youth from around the world and from our own region. With that in mind, we will hold an International Meeting for the youth of Caritas on 1415 July in the in the State of Minas Gerais. After that, the Missionary Week (prior to World Youth Day) will take place in several dioceses from 16th to 23rd July. The youth are invited to take part in both events to then travel to Rio de Janeiro on World Youth Day. Continue reading

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Filed under Brazil, Catholic Teaching, Latin America

Venez à la Journée Mondiale de la Jeunesse 2013!

Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga at a previous World Youth Day in Australia. Credit: James Alcock

Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga at a previous World Youth Day in Australia. Credit: James Alcock

Vœux d’espoir à tous nos amis de Caritas du monde entier !

Nous vivons une époque d’espoir et de bonnes nouvelles. Dont notamment la Journée Mondiale de la Jeunesse dans la belle ville de Rio de Janeiro, au Brésil, du 23 au 28 juillet 2013.

Nous, à Caritas Brésil, nous aimerions rencontrer et faire la connaissance d’autres jeunes Caritas du monde entier et de notre région. C’est pour cela que nous organisons une Assemblée Internationale des Jeunes de Caritas les 14 et 15 juillet dans l’État du Minas Gerais, au Brésil. Ensuite, du 16 au 23 juillet, ce sera la Semaine Missionnaire (les pré-JMJ) qui se tiendra dans plusieurs diocèses. Les jeunes sont invités à participer aux deux manifestations avant de se rendre à Rio de Janeiro pour les JMJ. Continue reading

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Filed under Brazil, Catholic Teaching, Français, Latin America

Venid a la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud 2013!

Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga at a previous World Youth Day in Australia. Credit: James Alcock

Caritas president, Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga at a previous World Youth Day in Australia. Credit: James Alcock

Saludos de esperanzas a todas y todos los amigos de Caritas!

Estamos viviendo un tiempo de muchos signos de esperanza y buenas noticias. Uno de ellos es la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud a celebrarse en la ciudad de Rio de Janeiro, Brasil del 23 al 28 de julio del presente año.

Las Caritas Brasileñas quieren encontrase con los y las jóvenes de las Caritas de otros países, para ello queremos organizar un Encuentro Internacional de Jóvenes de Caritas. Este se realizara al sudoeste de Brasil, en la ciudad de Minas Gerais, MG, los días 14 y 15 de Julio.  Integrándose después a la Semana Misionera –pre jornada- y después viajar a la Jornada Mundial de la Juventud en Rio de Janeiro. Continue reading

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Filed under Brazil, Catholic Teaching, Español, Latin America

Brazil’s flood legacy lives on

In November 2011, some flood-affected families were still in shelters. A Caritas partner bought items they needed to start life in new homes. Photo courtesy of Presenca Samaritana

Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy for Caritas Internationalis, traveled to Brazil in June to attend the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. She also visited a Caritas project in the region and reports back on Caritas’ efforts to help flood survivors.

“In my 67 years I have not seen something like this,” says a woman in Brazil whose house was destroyed during powerful floods in January 2011. She now lives in a modest house with her sister, who takes care of her.

The deadly mixture of heavy rains filling the rivers and fatal landslides damaged the city of Nova Friburgo and fertile land nearby. Worst hit was San Jose do vale do Rio Preto, where some of the houses are literally standing in the river. Today those houses that still stand are damaged and inhabitable, though the rivers that caused the damage now look very small and innocent.

Although the disaster happened over a year ago, the signs of devastation  are still apparent. The director of Caritas Nova Friburgo showed us the place right behind Caritas where a landslide stripped off part of an apartment building and damaged the Caritas building.

Once you are sensitized you suddenly realize that the landscape is full of these scars: signs of erosion and places where parts of the hill just came down, destroying buildings or damaging them so much that the authorities declared them inhabitable. Climate change is more and more visible and we have to get prepared for these kinds of emergencies happening more often.

According to official figures, 25,000 people lost their houses because of the disaster. Churches opened their buildings and hosted affected people as a temporary solution. Then people started to move in with family members—or, if they had nowhere else to go, back into their damaged houses in spite of the danger.

A Caritas colleague in Nova Friburgo, himself affected by the emergency, is upset as he talks about the ongoing situation. There are still 7000 people without proper shelter or new housing, and many feel that corruption and bureaucracy are hindering the construction of new houses.

In a valley near Nova Friburgo, small scale farmers produce the vegetables necessary to feed the population of Rio.  During the floods, mud and water streaming down from the hills covered the fields and the crops were destroyed. Those who lived there thought they would need at least a year or more to get back on track, but in fact, it only took them 5 months; the valley looks as if nothing has ever happened there. Jose Magalhães, emergency coordinator of Caritas Brazil, explained that people there were lucky. Banks were more inclined to give loans to restore houses and business, and get farmers back to production so they could feed the people of Rio. A men living in the area said: “We helped each other a lot, used our different skills and identified those who would need assistance from Caritas and other organizations.”

Before the flood hit, Caritas Nova Friburgo had been inactive for some years. But the disaster mobilized them and it was decided to bring this Caritas member back to life. Emergency shelters and meeting places were identified and events about disaster risk reduction were held.

In a place called Teresópolis, the Catholic group “Presença Samaritana” is responding to over 4700 people who still need help and have not been able to recover fully. With funding from the Caritas network, they are giving families food baskets, as well as vouchers they can use to “buy” clothes.

Though people in the area are frustrated about construction delays and other problems, help from Caritas has made the flood aftermath a little easier for them to bear. “I have nothing to complain about my life,” says the lady who was lucky enough to get alternative shelter. “I’ve always been treated well and helped.”

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Filed under Brazil, Conflicts and Disasters, Emergencies, Latin America

Rio+20: faith based organisations keep the hope alive

By Martina Liebsch, Caritas Internationalis Director of Policy and Advocacy

It has become a tradition that faith based organisations host a side event together at major global conferences, like at the UN conferences on climate change in Cancun and Durban. Over 120 people gathered in one of the last of the side events at the Rio+20 conference, which, in spite of the general frustration about the outcome of the summit, gave some hope. The title of the event was “Ethical and Religious Insights on the Future we Want” sponsored by the World Council of Churches, the Lutheran World Federation, Religions for Peace and Caritas Internationalis. Continue reading

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Filed under Advocacy, Brazil, Development, High-Level Meetings and Events, Latin America