The Catholic community “Mar a Dentro” (”Out into the deep”) runs a pastoral centre in the city of Belem in northern Brazil, where they hold prayer meetings, Eucharistic adoration, prepare young people for confirmation and young couples for the sacrament of matrimony. They also care for around 60 children and provide psychological support and counselling. But the members of this community do not merely confine themselves to the city. Faithful to the words of Jesus to Peter: “Duc in Altum”, “Put out into the deep” (Lk 5:4) - as the name of their community suggests - they have for nine years now also been ministering to the people living in the jungle on the riverside and the river islands in the Amazon region of northern Brazil. Villages that can only be reached by boat.
(Volunteers and villagers help unload supplies from the existing boat in an isolated village in Belém
© Aid to the Church in Need)
By means of their apostolate the community is able to guarantee a continuing presence of the Catholic Church in this inaccessible region. The people living in these villages are needy in every respect - in need of pastoral care, of spiritual and material support, of counselling and assistance in many different needs. In this way the community is helping around 400 families to grow in their faith, to get to know the Gospel message in greater depth and play an active part in the life of the Church. At the same time they are helping them in their social and other needs and providing them with vital basic necessities. There are roughly a hundred volunteers, working in turns in this apostolate, which literally takes them to the margins of society. Many of them are able to bring their daily professional experience to bear for the benefit of the needy in these communities.
Until now the community has only had an old wooden boat available, which is already in a poor state of repair. Hence they urgently need a new boat, made of more durable materials, that will withstand the difficult conditions and so enable them to carry out this work of service quicker and more safely - and also visit the riverside settlements more frequently. The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need will provide a grant of $49,000 so that the Community can purchase a new, aluminium hulled boat.
The vital work of Catholic charities like Aid to the Church In Need provide a lifeline to the Church wherever she is poor, persecuted or threatened. Please help our work by donating online or send your donation to Aid to the Church in Need, PO Box 7246 Baulkham Hills NSW 2153. Ph: (02) 9679-1929