On November 15-24, 2018, the Vicar General, Friar Jerzy NOREL, and the Assistant General for the Federación América Latina Conventuales (FALC), Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, visited the mission in Amazonas State of the Province of St. Maximilian M. Kolbe in Brazil, together with the Minister Provincial, Friar Marcelo VERONEZ.

The mission operates through three distinctly different centers. One is Manaus, the capital city of Amazonas state, with almost two million inhabitants. It is a three-hour flight from Brasilia. Another is Tefé, which has sixty thousand inhabitants and lies about 550 km [342 mi] from Manaus. Finally, there is Juruá, which has ten thousand inhabitants and lies about 150 km [93 mi] from Tefé as the crow flies or 400 km [249 mi] by river.
The Manaus mission is an urban setting. The Tefé mission combines urban, marginal and semi-rural elements. The Juruá mission, however, includes parish ministry in town and ministry to remote communities scattered along the banks of the Juruá River. This makes for an extensive territory. However, the Juruá community also has a new boat, which seats nine and has a powerful engine. It is an important means of evangelizing the riverside villages.
In many ways, the entire presence of the Order in Amazonas State is a missionary presence. There are enormous distances to travel and the challenges of displacement, in terms of the difficult social and cultural situation and the fragile church setting. The social fabric is made up of transplanted peoples from other Brazilian states, mixed-race peoples and local, original or indigenous peoples.
Besides traditional parish ministry and pastoral journeys, some new initiatives are underway, such as “Projecto Tocar” in Juruá, which teaches young people music and how to play instruments. There is also social ministry being carried out in Tefé.
The parish church in Juruá shelters the mortal remains of Friar Agostinho (Stefan) JANUSZEWICZ, OFM Conv., who died in 2011. He was the former Bishop of Luziânia and the founder of the mission in Amazonas. His tomb is now a “symbolic place”, a real landmark and veneration location for the Church community.
In Tefé, the visitors met with the local bishop, the Most Reverend Fernando Barbosa dos Santos, C.M., Prelate of Tefé. Together they discussed various issues concerning the mission and the expectations for the next Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon region, which will be celebrated in Rome in October of 2019.
The missionary commitment in Amazonas is a gift from God, for the Order and especially for Brazil.

Friar Carlos TROVARELLI, Assistant General for the FALC
(Federación América Latina Conventuales)