Tuesday, December 4, 2007

City of God Appeal

Just in case anyone's missed it, please go to City of God Appeal and make a donation for the mission and work of Christ the King in in the Cidade de Deus, one of the most impoverished and dangerous neighbourhoods in the world.

I'll "borrow" from Mad Priest the latest news from Luiz Cohelo:
From Luiz Coelho:

First of all, I'd like to thank you for spreading the word about this initiative. Christ the King is, more than anything, the story of a rebirth.

Christ the King was the project of one man very dedicated to God's work: the Rev. Jorge Macedo. About 20 years ago, he managed to gather donations from one parish in Canada, one parish in the US and from a Social Fund in the Netherlands, and build the solid builiding Christ the King now has. He was the founder, rector and principal of an elementary school that existed there.

Sadly, he died of cancer some years ago, and due to economic crisis which didn't (and still doesn't) allow the Diocese of Rio de Janeiro to hire more clergy, Fr. Macedo was substituted by a series of supply priests (who were at the same time in charge of one or even two other parishes) and it experienced a decline in membership. The school failed into bankruptcy and a couple years ago, there were only 4 active members and an empty school building. Some in the diocese wanted to sell the property, but there was a last try: the school was converted into a social project, which is also funded by ERD, and rents space to several community-based initiatives. And one year ago, a young priest, Fr. Eduardo Costa, was assigned to that parish (Fr. Eduardo is also the rector of Most Holy Trinity in Méier). That's how I found the parish when I first went there, even before Fr. Eduardo's official installment. I was about to send my seminary papers and still doubtful about my vocation. Some time, later I was already officially helping serve there and with my training on charge. Christ the King convinced me I had something to do with the Church.

After one year of Fr. Eduardo's installment, last sunday, our diocesan bishop visited us. We had more than sixty people there. 10 children were baptized, 9 adults were confirmed and one was received into communion. I invite you to take a look

The formula? I have no idea... We just tried to make room for people and make sure they are loved. Most of our parishioners were the "leftovers" of society, and many of our Christian sisters/brothers didn't care much about them, because they weren't legally married, or were poor, or not well seen... We became a church of refugees... literally. Once, the drug dealers shot against the police in front of the church and we had to lock ourselves inside it. As our website says, Christ the King is a community which seeks the divine path of conversion through its common faith in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, through respect for the incarnational mystery and through a sacramental life rooted in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday.

Next sunday will be my last official Sunday there. I'm very proud and honored to know some of you are contributing to our ministry with children. We have about 20 children who attend our parish every Sunday, and the more we expand this number, the less children will be corrupted by drug traffic (drug dealers start hiring children at the age of 10). These donations will be directed to this ministry. Some of our goals are: buying musical instruments for them (drums, flutes, etc), buying Christian Education material and a DVD player and some cartoons on Jesus and the Bible. Money will eventually go to our parish kitchen (we serve a meal to everybody - especially the children - after services) if we run out of food.

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