The Redemptorist Postulancy in Curitiba, Brazil, has emphasized the different areas of formation, seeking holistic training (human, spiritual, intellectual, community and missionary) to prepare young Redemptorist postulants to work in a secularized and pluralistic society. Regarding the missionary dimension, this stage of Redemptorist development highlights n. 28 of the Ratio Formationis Generalis, which calls for the development of skills to work in the community with impoverished people. To this end, over the last 15 years, young people graduating from this phase of formation have worked in the impoverished outskirts (“favelas”) of the vast metropolitan area of Curitiba.
The Postulants are engaged in the campaign called “SOS Combate à Fome” (SOS Combating Hunger), a project which, in addition to evangelizing, offers a monthly basic food basket to two thousand families in seven favelas of the city. This ministry is in the way of justice, peace and integrity of creation.
Father Joaquim Parron, CSSR, formator of the Redemptorist Postulancy as well as father and catalyst of the whole SOS campaign, insists that “we don’t just want to ‘give the fish’ by donating food, but we want to help people’ learn to fish’ through training for employment and work skills. Furthermore, we want to motivate people to become free and responsible agents of their society, that is, to become aware of responsible citizenship, to fight for their rights and to promote a just society based on solidarity”.
According to postulant Pedro Henrique, “training has enabled greater awareness of the social reality and at the same time has prepared us students to evangelize ‘with our feet on the ground’. We move from theory to practice; university and seminary training give us good theoretical foundations, while pastoral work enables us to experience the practical dimension. Being and working with the impoverished in this program has been a real education for me”, emphasizes Pedro.
Postulant Luiz H. Prachum says, “missionary activity with the people has helped us to put into practice the course in oratory offered at the Postulancy. In the public speaking course, we learn weekly how to use our voice and popular language to work with simple people. So, by participating in meetings with people from the outskirts, we can create a really fruitful connection between course training and live communication with the poor”.
Postulants, together with formators and lay people, promote activity in the defence of social justice through the struggle for affordable housing, the defence of social rights, and employment opportunities. They also work in the area of “integrity and preservation of creation” with poor workers who collect recyclable items. Every week, they meet in the periphery areas of Vila Torres and Vila Britanite with more than 100 collectors of recyclable material to reflect on the Gospel and also to support the work of those indigent labourers.
Azizi Tempesta CSSR