Tony Sheen writes>>
Next Monday I will be travelling to the state of Pará in Brazil, which is one of the most heavily logged regions of the Amazon rainforest.
Pará has long been a focal point for rural violence, a region where indigenous communities and small–scale farmers have tried to protect the forest from large-scale cattle ranching and mining.
Four murders have taken place in the past month in the region, amid conflicts over land and logging, adding to the 34 murders related to land violence in Brazil over the last year.
CAFOD works with Pastoral Land Commission (CPT), an organisation of the Brazilian Bishops´ Conference, which is providing help and legal support for local people who have been threatened and intimidated.
My colleague Sarah and I will join CAFOD partners on a special pilgrimage taking place on weekend of 16th July.
The pilgrimage will include a special torchlight procession in memory of murdered Jesuit priest João Bosco Burnier and thousands of others who have died in the struggle for justice.
Fr. Burnier worked with local bishop Don Pedro Casaldaglia amongst indigenous people in Brazil, he was murdered when he visited police headquarters to inquire about some indigenous women whom the police had detained.
The pilgrimage is called the Martyrs’ Pilgrimage, where many will gather to commemorate not only João Bosco Burnier, but the many lay and religious people including lawyers, students, journalists, union activists, human rights workers and indigenous people, who gave their lives in their struggle for justice, freedom and true peace.
During our visit, we will share pictures, stories and gifts with the Brazilian communities we meet, showing people from parishes and schools in England who support CAFOD by fundraising, campaigning and praying for justice.
The above slideshow shows some images of people sending their support to Brazil.
Whilst in Brazil I will also be visiting CAFOD’s Connect 2 Partners MDF (Movimento de Defensa do Favela ) and APOIO, who have been working for many years with the many thousands of people, who live in abject poverty in vast shanty towns.