New books for a seminary in Diamantina
It was not by chance that the city of Diamantina got its name – for in the 17th century this was the first place where diamonds were found outside of Asia. But, as happens everywhere in the world, those who got rich were only a few lucky ones. There are many men who are still trying to support their families by digging for diamonds here. They are not slaves as their forefathers were, but they earn very little from this backbreaking work. What profit there is goes into others pockets, and anyway, diamonds have become quite rare in the region now.
These men spend months in mountain camps trying to pull these precious stones from the rocks, often leaving their wives and in most cases their numerous children behind to struggle in poverty. Because of these difficult conditions, many of families break apart, and many children are left neglected. But there are few other opportunities for work. Only a handful of people benefit from tourism, while others, who endeavour to live from making handcrafted items do not find many buyers. The land is rocky and ill-suited to agriculture and until now no industry worth mentioning has been established in the region.
Hope for the future
The city of Diamantina is also the seat of the diocese of the same name. The Archbishop knows that good priests are needed to help the people, to provide guidance for lives to be led with dignity, for as Our Lord tells us in the Gospels, “man does not live by bread alone.” The archdiocese is vast, covering an area of over 18,000 square miles (47,000 km²) – half the size of Portugal, in fact – yet there are only about 60 priests for a population of half a million people.
There is hope, however, for the future in the form of new vocations to the priesthood. In fact there are more than 40 young men currently training for the priesthood in the local diocesan seminary. However, this diocesan seminary is as poor as all the people in the region. The seminarians themselves cannot afford to pay for their own training. They do their best to make themselves useful in the seminary, by cleaning, serving one another at table and performing other menial household tasks. They do so gladly, and with joy, yet this is only a small contribution to the cost of running the seminary. At the moment, the greatest need for the seminary is to upgrade and update the stock of books in its library. For a well furnished library is one of the bases for the sound formation of future priests.
Aid to the Church in Need and its benefactors are providing the seminary with $4,553 for the purchase of the books necessary for their training.
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