Ministry highlights from João Pessoa - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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September 2021 newsletter


Kathy Bond and Flávio Rocha, Brazil

Photos from Kathy’s Shantala baby massage workshops in August at AFYA and a public health post in João Pessoa.

Warm greetings from northeastern Brazil! The rains are diminishing with the arrival of the hot, semi-arid tropical summer here. We are doing well in the midst of all the uncertainty of the moment.

Maya is in the middle of her junior year in high school. She enjoys working out, participating in a book club, writing essays and hanging out with her friends. She is back to two weeks of school in person and then one week online.

Flávio and Kathy are returning to in-person work as more and more people are getting access to the vaccine and case numbers have dropped in our state. Here are a few highlights from our ministries.

Watch Kathy’s two videos here: ShantalaVideo1 and ShantalaVideo2

From Kathy:

My ministry with Shantala — an Indian massage for babies that promotes bonding and development — continues to be a rewarding aspect of my work here. For a change of pace, I made two short videos at AFYA: Women’s Holistic Health Center, where I facilitate retreats and holistic health courses, including Shantala workshops for pregnant couples, parents with newborns and health professionals.

More and more younger men — both soon-to-be dads and professionals — are participating in the trainings. I think this development points to some attitude shifts regarding the father’s involvement in parenting and bonding with newborns that in my opinion is very positive, especially for the dads and babies.

The second video is a demonstration of the technique that is also effective in alleviating intestinal colic. In Brazil, August is called the golden month, as breast-feeding is promoted throughout the public and private health care systems. The three photos above are from recent Shantala workshops at a local health post and at AFYA. As the situation continues to improve here, I look forward to returning to more in-person trainings at the University Extension program led by physical therapy and medicine professors for families with infants with disabilities.

From Flávio:

I am in my second year of formation in Somatic Experiencing (SE) with Maryknoll Sister Efu Nyaki. SE is a therapy that deals with individual and collective trauma. For my practical training, I am attending people online through zoom, and I can see the progress of my clients over the weeks as so many people are struggling with trauma triggered by the collective crisis of the pandemic.

Flávio giving a workshop at AFYA

Sometimes I also facilitate Theater of the Oppressed and water conflicts workshops online. Kathy and I are giving frequent retreats at AFYA. I usually do dynamics that I learned 20 years ago when I did my master’s degree on creation spirituality in Oakland, California. They are a way for people to connect with their ancestors, spirituality and nature. I also incorporate techniques that I am learning with SE and other therapies in the promotion of integral health. The results have been positive as people continue to come back.

We ask for your prayers for Brazil. The political conflict continues to escalate with rumors of a military coup. Unemployment is over 15%, and hunger is at the highest rate in 15 years. Presidential elections happen next year, and we hope for a democratic process.

Thank you for your support! We hold you in our prayers and ask for yours as we all strive for more healing in our beautiful and broken world.

In hope,
Flávio and Kathy


Kathy Bond and Flávio José Rocha
Kathy Bond and Flávio José Rocha are Maryknoll lay missioners based in João Pessoa in northeastern Brazil.