Brazil - Two Salesian pastors reach the House of the Father

09 November 2018

(ANS - Brasilia) - A few days apart, the faithful of Brazil have lost two good pastors, the Salesians mgr. Antonio Possamai, bishop emeritus of Ji-Paraná, who passed away on 27 October; and mgr. Frederico Heimler, bishop emeritus of Cruz Alta, who died on 7 November. For their episcopal motto, both took their cue from the Gospel passage of Lk 4:18, because their mission consisted in "proclaiming the Gospel to the poor."

Pope Francis always reminds all that bishops must share the life, dreams, the struggles of their people. This was the life of Msgr. Antonio Possamai. Born on 5 April 1929, in the city of Ascurra, he learned of the Salesians of Don Bosco from an early age. He made his first religious profession on January 31, 1948, and was ordained a priest on December 8, 1957. In his career, he was Provincial Vicar in the Brazil-Porto Alegre Province (1963-1975) and Provincial for the Brazil-Recife Province (1976- 1982).

He was appointed and ordained bishop of Ji-Paraná in 1983, choosing as his episcopal motto the phrase: "The Lord has anointed me to evangelize the poor." A motto that he incarnated with his life and that also caused him various conflicts and annoyances, slanders and even death threats.

In his episcopal ministry he encouraged the birth of hundreds of baseline ecclesial communities, promoted the birth of a school of faith and politics for the laity and was committed to stimulating an organized and dynamic pastoral care with all. He also held various positions in the Brazilian Episcopal Conference - Northern Region 1, including that of President.

After the renunciation due to age limitation, in 2007, he resided in the "St John Bosco" community of Porto Velho.

Mons. Frederick Heimler was originally from Unterlammerthal, Germany, where he was born on 17 February 1942. He was ordained priest on 12 June 1970 and ordained bishop on 31 January 1999. His episcopal motto was: "The Spirit of the Lord is above me, for this He has anointed me to evangelize the poor." First appointed bishop coadjutor of Umuarama, he assumed the leadership of the diocese of Cruz Alta on June 16, 2002.

As a bishop he has always worked for the unity of the Catholic Church. In this sense, his convictions, his firm and clear positions, together with his skills as educator and administrator accumulated over the years, were decisive for increasing the pastoral and administrative care of the diocese. Pope Francis accepted his resignation from the government of the diocese on 11 June 2014.

The human journey of the third bishop of Cruz Alta was marked by simplicity, humility and intense work.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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