A vehicle for the vocations apostolate and the seminarians of the diocese of Teixeira de Freitas-Caravelas
The diocese of Teixera de Freitas-Caravelas is situated in the impoverished northeast of Brazil in the federal state of Bahia, a state which also happens to have the highest percentage of people of ethnic African origin in the country.
Close on 340,000 people in the diocese are Catholics, accounting for almost 80% of the total population. However, there are only 35 priests – far too few for the number of the Catholic faithful. Consequently, the diocese has stepped up its efforts in the area of the vocations apostolate, with a view to helping young people discern and develop a possible vocation to the priesthood and religious life. This work is now starting to bear fruit, and currently there are 31 young men from the diocese studying at the Saint John Paul II seminary in the neighbouring archdiocese of São Salvador da Bahia. They live in the student hostel built by their own diocese in the city of São Salvador, but study at the University there, together with the seminarians of the Archdiocese of Salvador. There are also another five young men from the diocese of Teixera de Freitas-Caravelas currently studying in the pre-seminary, with a view to eventually moving on to the major seminary.
An old car
The vocations apostolate involves visits to the various parishes of the diocese in order to maintain contacts with the young people and accompany them. And a vehicle is also required for purchasing basic necessities and for transporting the seminarians from Salvador da Bahia to the parishes in their own diocese, where they will each spend some time gaining practical experience in pastoral work. The old vehicle previously used by the seminary for this purpose was very heavy on fuel and expensive to maintain. Moreover, it was none too safe when driving the long journeys on the notoriously dangerous Bahia Highway, and Bishop Jailton de Oliveira Lino was constantly fearful for the lives of his priests and seminarians when they were travelling on this highway. Which is why he made an urgent appeal to ACN for help.
Thanks to the generosity of our benefactors, we did not need to disappoint him and were able to contribute $31,000 to enable the diocese to purchase a new and stronger vehicle. It is not only cheaper to run and maintain but also more robust than the old one, and so now the journeys on the dangerous roads will be a little safer in future. From all the seminarians, heartfelt thanks to all who have helped!