Brazil – A small price for a priceless mission: a testimony from Iauaretê

18 April 2019

(ANS - Iauaretê) - The Indigenous Salesian Mission of Iauaretê is immersed in the forest of the Brazilian Amazon, almost on the border with Colombia and about 1,200 km from its provincial headquarters, Manaus. It has welcomed and continues to welcome many missionaries. Today the director is the Salesian missionary, Fr Roberto Cappelletti, who spends himself on removing the population from alcohol and drugs and offering a future of hope to local children and young people.

When he was assigned to Iauaretê, he admits, it took a long time to find traces of the mission on the map of Brazil. Today, however, after more than four years of service, he holds various positions: he is Director of the mission, parochial vicar and responsible for the activities of the oratory. He also visits the 50 villages belonging to the parish, scattered along 4 rivers, in an area the size of Veneto. "The distances (one arrives there only after 2.5 days along the river) the Spartan style of life, and diseases such as malaria, represent the small price to pay for having the honor of living among these peoples, 16 different indigenous ethnic groups, among these simple people, always having a greater attention for the little ones and for the adolescents," says the missionary.

The big problem of that area is alcoholism, which is increasingly expanding, due to the clandestine entry of industrial alcohol, which is not even supposed to enter the indigenous reserve. And with alcohol comes the Colombian drug traffickers, the violence in families, among the young and in the villages ... All problems that go to impact the youngest, first of all.

For this reason, little by little, the Salesians are building a new home: it will take time, because the materials can only be transported by river and the work is done manually, but by 2020 it should be ready. Then, in addition to the Salesian community and aspirants, it will be able to accommodate children who are abandoned for days in the narrow streets of Iauaretê on weekends and in festive moments, "without a shelter, without food and with the fear of returning to their hut and take the beating from one of the adults; and when they are not beaten, they are even worse violence," testifies Fr Cappelletti.

The Salesian Family - the Daughters of Mary Help of Christians are also present in the area - is there precisely for them, "so that children can grow with another vision of life, with other prospects, with the certainty that Jesus loves them," concludes Fr Cappelletti .


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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