On November 16-25, 2019, Friar Joseph Blay, the Delegate General for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (GPIC), visited the Province of St. Francis in Brazil.
The day the Delegate arrived coincided with the priestly ordination of Friar Rafael Gomes Da SILVA. The ordination took place at the Church of Santo Antônio in the Barra Bonita district of San Paolo, Brazil. Since Friar Joseph was on hand, the Minister Provincial, Friar Aloisio Antonio DE OLIVEIRA, suggested that the Franciscan Missionary Sisters of Assisi invite him to their Sao Paolo Convent. The Sisters gave the GPIC Delegate General a warm Franciscan welcome. Friar Joseph celebrated Mass with them and talked to them about Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.
On Sunday, November 17, the third World Day of the Poor, Friar Joseph met the faithful of the Church of Senhor do Bonfim in Santo André. While there, he celebrated Mass and preached on the theme of Justice for the Poor. He stressed that we must recognize the image of God in the poor, but this is not enough if we do not work to change the structures that cause poverty and uphold poor people’s right to human dignity. Finally, he asked the laity to continue to collaborate with the friars in this evangelical commitment to human promotion.
The following day, the GPIC Delegate General held a formation meeting on GPIC topics for five student friars and three postulants, gathered at the seminary in the same location.
On November 19, the Minister Provincial accompanied Friar Joseph to the Riacho Grande district of São Bernardo do Campo, where the Village of the Immaculate is run by the Militia of the Immaculate (M.I.). Nestled in the forest of a government nature preserve, this Marian Center is a model of how to protect our common home. The success of the Center’s work is due to the close collaboration between the friars and the members of the M.I.
In the afternoon, the Minister Provincial accompanied the GPIC Delegate General to the Cidade Dos Meninos [City of Children] – Maria Imaculada Institution in Santo André, where the Province conducts charitable activities. It is a rehabilitation center, where children with cerebral palsy and autism are cared for through hippotherapy, hydrotherapy, acupuncture, physiotherapy, etc. Approximately 200 sick children are given appropriate care each year. The Institute’s schools provide education to 350 young children and 200 youths. Subsidies from the public administration cover 50% of the expenses. The Center covers the rest on its own. Around 200 collaborators and employees work at the Institute. In 2001 and 2003, the school received an award as the most competent and efficient charitable institution in the state.
On November 20, Friar Joseph visited the novitiate in Cascavel. This is the novitiate’s first year in operation. While there, he met with Friar Afonso Rosa DOMINGOS, the Provincial Delegate for GPIC. The two Delegates shared their opinions about Provincial activities in GPIC and talked about guidelines that the Government of the Order hopes to establish regarding GPIC.
Some important highlights of Friar Joseph’s visit included a meeting with the oldest friar in the Province, Friar Maximiliano Maria Pereira de QUEIROZ, aged 95; a meeting with the Minister Provincial of the Province of Our Lady of the Angels in the USA (OLA), Friar James MCCURRY, who was in Brazil visiting the novices; and the 25th anniversary of priestly ordination for Friars Sérgio Luís MALACARNE and Zelírio Pedro MALACARNE (November 19, 1994). The anniversary celebrations took place at the Church of São João Batista in São Bernardo do Campo.
Fra Joseph BLAY Delegato generale GPIC