As noted previously, Fr. Tim Gray, SCJ, is spending the last part of his sabbatical in South America, living and ministering with our SCJ communities there. On Independence Day he wrote the following:
July 4, Lavras, Brazil. Fireworks are going off; the SCJs are preparing churrasco and chilling beer to get ready to watch the big football game. But it’s not a USA Independence Day celebration, just another big showdown between archrival teams in this soccer- crazy country.
Suddenly, I realize that I am a fan of one of the teams — Boca, from Buenos Aires, whom I adopted on my visit to Argentina in 2005. They feel like the Boston Red Sox of soccer. So I joined in the cheering and teasing (and like the Red Sox of old, they lost).
The celebration was an informal send-off as I prepare to move north (toward the equator) to visit the District of Maranhao, As I travel, I notice one charism that seems common to most SCJ places I have ever visited; SCJs make large investments in improving the well-being of society.
So far, in Brazil I have only visited the orphanage and social service centers at Sao Judas in Sao Paulo, the school of philosophy/theology in Taubate (serving the entire archdiocese), the drug treatment center, community clinic, vocational school and the retreat house here in Lavras. There are many other such institutions in Brazil which serve the church and society, places where SCJs choose to invest their resources in “promoting the reign of the heart of Jesus in people and in societies.”
Our US Province participates in many such ministries. We may not run large universities or hospitals, but we certainly leave our mark.