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ACN Project of the Week in Brazil

Help for the training of 54 future priests from the Shalom Community

Today, over 3,000 people in over twenty countries around the world belong to the Shalom Community, founded in Brazil in 1982. Its members include married couples, young people and adults seeking their vocation and priests, gathered together in a community of shared life. A particular feature of their charism is the evangelization of young people and the outreach to socially marginalized groups. Their communal life is centred around the daily celebration of Holy Mass, personal prayer, contemplation, Scripture and a radical commitment to Christ.

A wonderful aspect of the community is the high number of priestly vocations it is producing. In the city of Fortaleza in northeast Brazil, where the community has its roots, there are 54 young men from the community currently training for the priesthood.

Father Vitor Bomfin Santos is one of these men who has already been through his training. He was ordained to the priesthood in December 2019 – not long before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Yet this difficult time, which he said has seen “so much suffering and so many challenges“ has at the same time been for him “a time in which God is giving so many graces.“

 In fact, it has been during this time that he has discovered his particular vocation, which consists in devoting himself to the service of the poor and homeless.

“I have always had a great love for the poor,” he explains, “and to be able to serve them directly now as a priest is a great joy for me. For me to be able to meet them in the squares, listen to their stories, be able to hear the confessions of people who have not made a confession for years, and even to baptize a child of two homeless parents, has been a grace and I thank God for revealing this to me as the particular mission within my priesthood during this time.”

Each one of these people are for him not simply cases, but experiences enabling him, in every moment, to hear the call of God.

The 54 seminarians in Fortaleza are also preparing for ordination to the priesthood one day and for the opportunity to serve God and their fellow men in a still deeper and more intensive way. Rai Rannier is 25. “I was looking for a life of total conversion to God and his Church.” For him the personal encounter with Christ is the most important aspect, and already he and his fellow seminarians are sharing their own personal experiences on their journey with Christ with other young people who are also trying to discern their vocation and discover how to live a life following Christ.

This year, ACN is proposing help with a contribution of $29.970 in support of the training of these young seminarians in Fortaleza, so they can continue their path to the priesthood.

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