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Brazil

Brazil is a country with a vibrant culture distinguished by its hospitality, creativity and a diversity of people. It is also a resource-rich country marked by extreme economic disparity, with many people living in poverty. Maryknoll lay missioners currently work in São Paulo and João Pessoa. Our ministries serve prisoners, immigrants, people living in poverty, refugees, victims of crime and women and children in situations of risk.

In São Paulo (population 12.8 million), urban violence and domestic violence as well as inadequate housing are major problems Two million people live in favelas, and an estimated 25,000 homeless people live on the streets in the center of the city. São Paulo is also home to many migrants from within Brazil and from other countries.

With a metropolitan population of over 1 million, João Pessoa experiences violence and high rates of unemployment. Domestic violence and child labor are also serious problems. Paraiba is  one of the poorest states in Brazil. Seventy percent of its territory is semiarid and suffers from periodic droughts.  The misuse of land led to a process of desertification and water and land conflicts are major issues.

Ministry Areas

Education & Leadership Development

Maryknoll lay missioners in Brazil all work with education with poor and marginalized communities, whether it be with religious education or popular education in schools and community projects.  We offer art classes on various themes with children and work with adults in the areas of ecology, health, gender inequality, non-violence and conflict resolution.

Healthcare & Health Promotion

Our missioners offer a variety of health services including health courses for pregnant women and new moms at a public health clinic. We also provide classes and services that promote holistic health including Yoga, shantala baby massage, reflexology, ear acupuncture and reiki for people in situations of marginalization. 

Healthcare

Our missioners offer a variety of health services including health courses for incarcerated women, focusing on helping mothers in prison take care of their babies. We also provide classes and services that promote holistic health for marginalized people, including yoga, shantala baby massage and reiki. Learn More

Justice and Peace

Lay missioners’ contribution to justice and peace include a ministry at a popular education and human rights center in Sao Paulo. The center works with local Brazilians to train community leaders in violence prevention and restorative justice practices. Lay missioners also work with theater of the oppressed, focusing on non-violent ways to address social problems. 

Faith Formation & Pastoral Care

Lay missioners collaborate with local parishes on the periphery to provide catechism and enrichment activities to youth, as well as formation services. They also accompany marginalized populations including the homeless and women experiencing poverty or violence. Pastoral ministries also include working with the archdiocesan prison-ministry outreach. 

Pastoral care

Lay missioners collaborate with local parishes on the periphery to provide catechism and enrichment activities to youth, as well as formation services. They also accompany marginalized populations including the homeless and women experiencing poverty or violence. Pastoral ministries also include working with the archdiocesan prison-ministry outreach. Learn More

Sustainable Development

Maryknoll lay missioners in Brazil all work to integrate the principles and practices of “Laudato Si” in their ministry and lives. One lay missioner does research on water privatization and its effects, sharing his results with academics and other interested people.

Our Missioners in Brazil

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