United States / Brazil – “Functional unity” aimed at rebuilding dioceses after the floods
Ilhéus (Agenzia Fides) – A total of 26 municipalities in the Diocese of Ilhéus were affected by floods in December and January 16 (see Fides 12/29/2021). The diocesan bishop, Mgr Giovanni Crippa, underlines the unity of the people who have organized themselves around the church, with the help of priests, deacons and the general public, in information published by the Council of Bishops (CNBB) and through Fides. Involved in pastoral care and church movements, providing material and spiritual assistance to affected families. “This unity was reflected in the food, the clothes, the mattresses, the food. It was a beautiful moment to see the unity in action,” he said, adding that he appreciated the presence of the diocesan priests when people needed them. Spiritual comfort, because in this situation life and the future have become so difficult, many have lost their homes and everything necessary to live.
Bishop of Itapuna, MGR Carlos Alberto dos Santos, explains that following the floods and disaster in the southern part of Bahia, the diocese welcomed the people to the parish hall and served them food three times a day. “We give them the warmth of our shelters so they have a peaceful place to get rid of pain and suffering. We encourage the campaign of love and welcome these people with confidence and dedication in showing that they exist. Not alone.”
In the Diocese of Teixeira de Freitas, five of its 13 municipalities were severely affected by the hurricane, said Bishop Mgr Jailton de Oliveira Lima. During this first phase of the emergency, the diocese distributed about 22 tons of food, clothing, mattresses, and mineral water. A diocesan campaign was launched and a committee of priests and laymen was set up to manage the initiatives. The diocese has defined four strategic locations in its district for the collection of clothing, food and hygiene items and basic necessities. From the beginning, as a church, we have been ready to welcome as many people as we can to help people get out of flooded houses, down from roofs, to shelters, to hospitals, “said Bishop. The bishop points out that many are camped in churches, chapels, schools, and have no chance of returning home, and that there is intense pressure on the authorities (municipalities, government) set up to meet with them in Bahia State and the federal government.
In the three dioceses of South Bahia, the needs of the victims will be identified and what is lost and what is needed for reconstruction. The government plans to rebuild the destroyed houses, but far from where they live, close to their workplace, which creates other problems. The Bishop of Itapuna would like to thank all the national and international organizations that have mobilized for relief and continue to call for help. (SL) (Agenzia Fides 8/1/2022)