August is a month of special anniversaries for CAIJ. In fact it was a double celebration, the anniversary of Dom Bosco and CAIJ’s 5th year of operation in Corumba, Brazil. Follow this link to see how the young people honoured their patron saint celebrated his legacy – CAIJ continues to meet the needs of children and young people in a community where families are easily marginalised and live in poverty. https://picasaweb.google.com/111166451295496640324/24DeAgostoDe201302?authuser=0&feat=directlink
In Brazil, the Feast of Corpus Christi is celebrated on the Thursday after Trinity Sunday with a mass and public procession when the Blessed Sacrament is exposed. On this public holiday, it is customary to decorate the procession route with tapetes or salt carpets honouring Christ and illustrating symbols of the Catholic church. Unlike the flower and petal displays you would find in street processions in Europe, in Brazil, salt, sawdust, coffee and sand are used.
- CNBNEWS Letter to the Editor: Join Us for the Feast of Corpus Christi (gloucestercitynews.net)
- Feast of Corpus Christi 2013 and Global Event Eucharistic Adoration With The Pope (blueeyedennis-siempre.blogspot.com)
Finally, it was my turn to go to the Pantanal. I had missed two opportunities earlier in the year due primarily to my fractured tibia and ankle bone which rendered the journey unsafe and impractical. So wait I did, patiently while other volunteers ventured out to see the largest wetlands in the world. Yes, my time had come and I was ready to see if the Pantanal lived up to its reputation. And it did, offering so much more. I must confess that it is not for the tame at heart or those who go green at long. boat journeys.
But then you may consider that to be a small price to pay when compared to spotting an alligator or two, catching a piranha for dinner, discovering birds so large you may think of Pterodactylus, and if you are lucky enough you might even get to see an anaconda. In a nutshell, that is the Pantanal´s wild side.
But there is more, the human element. I was so blessed to have spent two nights with a local farming family whose pace and quality of life inspired me anew and resonated with my contemplative side which longs for a slower pace of life, simplicity and periods of solitude. On arriving, I had joked about sleeping in a ´hede´ and to my surprised at bedtime, our hosts produced a hammock so I could sleep under the most magnificent starry sky I have ever seen. While I consider myself to be a huge fan of nature, without doubt, the highlight, actually that should be pluralised, the highlights of my experience in the Pantanal was the time spent with the farming community – playing guitar late into the night accompanying the host on the concertina, while throwing back rounds of local pinga and capirinhas: sitting around the fire at 5.30 next morning sharing in the communal cup of hot herbal mate tea; joining in and providing music at the baptismal mass celebration of six babies; receiving the sacrament of reconciliation in this Garden of Eden; being in fellowship with several other farming families who traveled for hours to join us in the mass celebration and festa.
Here are some photos of our visit to two remote parishes along the Brazilian/Bolivian border. We accompanied Padre Pascal on a 35km trek by car traveling on single track dirt roads through farm lands in the drier part of the Pantanal.
The parish of Sao Paulo (photo at right) is located on a farm and during the mass we could see cows and horses wondering by, not forgetting those pesky mosquitoes that kept us busy swatting throughout the service.
These parishioners live a very simple life and some travel for miles to attend this monthly service.
Definitely one of the highlights of my experiences so far in Brazil. I am grateful for the silence in such a beautiful, tranquil setting here in Campo Grande and the enormous hospitality of the Salesians in residence.
The retreat centre is actually located on the site of the botany and veterinary departments of the Don Bosco University but this clearly adds to the ambiance, making it ideal for gentle walks, quiet talks, prayer, reflection, contemplation and relaxation.
I glorify the Lord this day as I travel from Corumbá to Campo Grande – the awe-inspiring scenery – blue skies, mountains, rivers, foliage, flora and fauna. My heart takes a leap at the signs of Gods’ wonders. I am reminded that “His love endures forever”, and how everything “praises the Lord forever.”
I thank god for the gift of awe and wonder. It is a marvelous thing under heaven. The red earth, a result of millions of years of creation in God’s hands, what splendour…and yet he is not finished with our gentle earth to whom he has given us stewardship over.
- Bem-Vindo ao Brasil (venusonmission.wordpress.com)
- Aye.Corumba. – Corumba, Brazil (travelpod.com)
- Things of God That Reward Our Life (thisdaywithgod.wordpress.com)
- Whom shall I fear? (abundanceis.wordpress.com)
- “I AM BLESSED” – Feb. 22 (boyslumber.wordpress.com)
- Lost in Translation (venusonmission.wordpress.com)