Brazil – Msgr. Jonas Abib, founder of Canção Nova, reaches the Father's House

13 December 2022

(ANS - Cachoeira Paulista) - The Community of Canção Nova, the 25th group of the Salesian Family, announced the passing of its founder, Msgr. Jonas Abib, age 85, who passed away at his home in Cachoeira Paulista, São Paulo State, yesterday, Monday, Dec. 12, the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, at 10:14 p.m. local time. Msgr. Abib was one of the religious who most distinguished himself in the evangelization efforts of the Catholic Church in Latin America, using the media and organizing major evangelization events.

Msgr. Abib had been undergoing chemotherapy treatment for multiple myeloma since May 2021 and passed away due to respiratory failure.

In addition to being the founder of the Community of Canção Nova, Msgr. Abib was President of the John Paul II Foundation, parent entity of the Canção Nova Communication System and the Canção Nova Social Development Network, and Rector of the Shrine of the Father of Mercies in Cachoeira Paulista.

A preacher, musician, writer, and editor for the portal and magazine "Canção Nova," he served as Vice President of the Executive Board of the International Catholic Fraternity, a body attached to the Pontifical Council for the Laity of the Holy See, in Rome, and was one of the members of the National Council of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in Brazil (RCC).

A well-known author of homilies and a landmark in Catholic music, Jonas Abib was born on Dec. 21, 1936, in the city of Elias Fausto, São Paulo State, to Sérgio Abib, of Syrian-Lebanese descent, and Josepha Pacheco Abib, of Italian descent.

At the age of 12, he moved to Lavrinhas to begin studies in the Salesian Congregation. He studied Philosophy at the Salesian Institute of Philosophy and Pedagogy in Lorraine and Theology at the Salesian Theological Institute "Pius XI" in São Paulo. He was ordained a priest in 1964, choosing as his motto "I did everything for everyone."

He began his work with young people by promoting meetings and retreats for boys and girls in São Paulo; after joining the Catholic Charismatic Renewal in 1971, he became even more committed to working with young people.

On Feb. 2, 1978, he founded the Canção Nova Community with the mission to evangelize by communicating Jesus and the new life he came to bring, through meetings and social media. Two years later he inaugurated "Rádio Canção Nova," in Cachoeira Paulista (SP), and "TV Canção Nova" in 1989

In 2002, Msgr. Jonas Abib had the opportunity to meet Pope John Paul II, an encounter that represented for him the confirmation of his mission. In 2006 he received the "Santa Clara Award" from the Brazilian Catholic Bishops' Conference for his documentary on the Second Vatican Council, produced by TV Canção Nova.

At the age of 70, he had the DVD "Como é linda a nossa família" (How beautiful is our family) recorded, containing the show recorded at the theater of the Military Academy "Agulhas Negras" in Resende, and released on 2 Feb. 2008 to mark the 30th anniversary of the Community. It was a work that collected some of the songs symbolic of the community's journey in Catholic music.

On October 17, 2007, he received the title of "monsignor" from the Vatican at the request of Msgr. Benedito Beni dos Santos, then bishop of the diocese of Lorena (SP), in whose territory Canção Nova has its headquarters. It was a recognition of the relevant services he rendered to the Church and the people of God.

In January 2010 he celebrated the admission of Canção Nova into the Salesian Family, approved by the General Council of the Salesians in Rome. The final pontifical recognition of the Catholic community took place on June 29, 2014, on the Solemnity of St. Peter and St. Paul. In the same year, the dedication ceremony of the Shrine of the Father of Mercies was held in Canção Nova, and the 50th anniversary of Msgr. Jonas Abib's priesthood was also celebrated.

Another title he received was that of Doctor Honoris Causa in Pastoral Communication, awarded to him by the Salesian Catholic University Center Auxilium - UniSalesiano, on March 31, 2017.

With his whole life Msgr. Jonas Abib taught that holiness is an urgency and he spent it until his last moment to live in the perspective "Either saints or nothing"; and during the exercise of his priestly ministry, he gave "blood, sweat and tears" for the salvation of souls.

It is written in the conclusion of the communiqué sent out for this occasion by Canção Nova: "The entire body of Canção Nova clings together in this moment of sorrow for the loss of its spiritual father, the great creator of this Work that today has more than 1,300 members scattered throughout Brazil and abroad. At the same time, with contrite and sorrowful hearts, the Community and all those who are part of the Canção Nova family reaffirm their hope in the Resurrection (...). Canção Nova is grateful for the affection and condolences for the loss of dear Msgr. Jonas Abib, and will work even harder so that his precious and countless teachings may reach more and more people, so that they may experience a personal encounter with Jesus, just as he did and never tired of bearing witness."

Sources: Noticias Canção Nova, Vatican News


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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