Profile - Flávio José Rocha - Maryknoll Lay Missioners
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Flávio José Rocha


Year Joined MKLM: 2003

Country: Brazil

City: João Pessoa

Ministries: Theater of the Oppressed, holistic health, water privatization and pollution research.

Ministry Areas: Healthcare and Health Promotion; Justice and Peace

Goals of Ministries: Theater of the Oppressed: To deal with difficult topics in an engaging way and to provide tools for communities to find their own nonviolent solutions. Holistic Health: To provide therapies for people to deal with their stress. Water: To create greater awareness of the sacredness of water.

Nonviolence Focus:

Theater of the Oppressed: Prevention. Theater of the Oppressed is a tool to work with impoverished communities who lack access to basic rights. It provides a dynamic way to talk about oppressions and fosters nonviolent alternatives to address social problems.

Holistic Health: Reconciliation/Restoration. Mental health has become a big issue all over the world, and that is not different in Brazil. After COVID, things got worse. Holistic therapies are a way to help people deal with stress and mental health issues.

Water research: Prevention. More than 30 million Brazilians do not have access to running water and more than 50 million do not have access to sewage treatment. Most of the rivers in Brazil are polluted. This is a violence against God´s creation.


Ministry Context:

Brazil has a lot of violence. According to the Map of Violence in Brazil, more than 50,000 people die annually as a result of violence. Families of these victims suffer trauma from all this violence. This is also reflected in Brazil’s nature, especially in the Amazon. Brazil has almost 15% of all fresh water sources of the planet, but that water is not protected from exploitation.


Current Ministry:

In his work with Theater of the Oppressed, Flávio offers workshops and does public presentations on topics such as domestic violence, racism, homophobia, etc. This popular education technique uses theater to provide participants the opportunity to talk about daily external and internal oppressions. Theater of the Oppressed is a tool to work with impoverished communities who lack access to basic rights.

In his holistic health ministry, Flávio treats people with various therapies at Canto da Harmonia Project, a public health holistic center, and facilitates retreats at AFYA Holistic Center.

Flávio does research, writes and publishes articles for websites and magazines focusing on water privatization and river pollution in Brazil. He also gives lectures on water issues, especially focusing on privatization and pollution in Brazilian rivers.


Personal Data:

Flávio is a native Brazilian from Duas Estradas, Paraíba. He was inspired to do mission by the Franciscan Sisters who lived in his hometown when he was a child and by the example of people like Archbishop Dom Helder Câmara. Liberation theology and creation spirituality have been sources of inspiration on his journey.

He was introduced to the Maryknoll community through a friend in João Pessoa in 1998 and was impressed with their commitment to the poor and marginalized. Prior to becoming a Maryknoll lay missioner, Flávio was the education secretary in Duas Estradas’ municipal government and involved in campus ministry.

Flávio and his wife, Kathy Bond, met in Brazil when they worked together in a social justice project. After they married, the couple moved to Berkeley, California, and were active in the Holy Spirit Newman Community. They later relocated to João Pessoa, Brazil, where their daughter, Maya, was born in 2005.

In 2010, they were transferred to São Paulo. He ministered with immigrants in São Paulo, mostly Bolivians and Peruvians, in a non-governmental organization that works to prevent modern slavery and in a holistic health project run by Franciscan Sisters on the periphery of São Paulo. Twice a week he also visited with and did reiki for organ transplant patients and staff at a public hospital.

At the end of 2018, Flávio, Kathy and Maya moved back to João Pessoa.

Flávio has a master’s degree in creation spirituality from Naropa Institute, a master’s in environment and development from the Federal University of Paraíba, a doctorate in social sciences from the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo and a post-doctorate from the University of São Paulo.