Last Sunday, September 7th, the celebration of the Divine Eternal Father was held in Franca, São Paulo, Brazil. The 27th edition of the Hallel, a traditional festival and an event sure to be on the calendar of Catholics, brought together thousands of people, mostly young people from around the country, to praise God through music. Maria Júlia do Carmo, one of the participants, declared her satisfaction with the event: “The Hallel is an amazing place where we meet God, showing our affection in a different way, by singing, shouting, crying and smiling.” For Ilson Renato Morejo, every year is a different experience: “I was able to experience adoration of the Lord and it touched me deeply. It is never the same, the Lord always brings something new to my life,” he said. Roberto Celestino recounted that during the Hallel he asked for blessings for everyone: “We are here at this event to praise God, give thanks for our lives and pray for all the people in the world.”
The word “Hallel” is of Aramaic origin and means “song of praise to God.” It is one of the biggest festivals of Catholic music in the world. This time it was celebrated with a special theme: “Divine Eternal Father, We are your children evangelizing through music.” The creator of the event, Maria Theodora Lemos, Aunt Lolita, spoke about the choice of the theme: “We had to meet the request, first of the Father, and then to satisfy Father Robson. I’m sure he appreciated it very much. The theme was welcomed by all with the greatest joy, without question. It is a theme that pleases everyone. It is of our Church, of our triune God and of Mary.” The Pilgrim Image of the Divine Eternal Father could not be absent from this great celebration of praise and worship. It arrived, transported by the rector of the Sanctuary-Basilica of the Divine Eternal Father, in Trindade, Fr. Robson de Oliveira, making the devotees joyful and moved emotionally. “It is the sixth time that I am attending the Hallel, and now with such a strong and beautiful theme, the expression of the missionary work that the Associação Filhos do Pai Eterno (Afipe) [Children of the Eternal Father Association] promotes. It is a sign that the Eternal Father has been increasingly recognized by people, by entities and by groups ofevangelization. The group that organizes the Hallel promoted this theme so as to recognize in the love of the Eternal Father, the grace and the need to make him more and more loved in praise, thanksgiving, music and lectures,” emphasized Fr. Robson. The bishop of the Diocese of Franca welcomed the Sacred Icon and Fr. Robson de Oliveira: “When we chose the theme, we knew of this presence of God, of his love, forgiveness and mercy in our life. It is this that we want to offer everyone who participates in this year’s Hallel.” There were three days of celebration, praise and evangelization through music. The celebration with Fr. Robson and the Pilgrim Image of the Eternal Father concluded the biggest event of Catholic music in Latin America. The Fernando Costa Exhibition Park was crowded. Thousands of brothers and sisters, beloved children, gathered at the site. Francisca Ferreira Lima, from Morro Agudo (SP), could not contain her excitement. “I cannot even describe what I feel,” she affirmed. The devotee Carina Ferreira, from Franca (SP), also said that she was thrilled: “I have learned much here in this celebration, it has touched my heart deeply as a mother and as a Christian,” she said. For Cláudio Cardoso da Cruz, also from Franca (SP), to participate in the Hallel is a pleasure. “It is so delightful to be here right now. Only God himself can enlighten us,” he affirmed. Yet another Hallel ended in an atmosphere of celebration, praise and worship. The festival of Catholic music, which began in Franca in 1988, is traditional throughout Brazil today. Even other countries, such as Paraguay, hold the event. The message of hope and faith reaches thousands of hearts through preaching the Word of God and songs of praise.
(Translation: Fr. Joseph P. Dorcey, CSsR)