Irish Capuchins organise donations for flood victims in south Brazil

Irish Capuchins organise donations for flood victims in south Brazil Photo: Fr Flávio Corrêa de Lima

Brazilian Capuchin friars in Ireland are organising a collection at Mass which will be donated to the diocese most affected by the floods in southern Brazil, saying “Christ’s love is not only words, but action”.

The destruction has affected more than 800,000 people in 104 cities since April 29, and many parts of the state is still under water. The Church, government and community are coming together to assist those who lost everything.

Fr Flávio Corrêa de Lima, priest at the Santo Inácio de Loyola parish in Sao Leopoldo, Brazil, has seen his church, church hall and parochial house completely submerged underwater.

When the floods started, Fr Lima received more than 200 people coming from a flooded area into the church hall, but less than 24 hours later everyone had to be reallocated as the water started to reach the church.

Fr Lima said: “It is an apocalyptical scene. There are not many good things to take from such suffering, but if something it is the community coming together to help each other. Those whose houses were not flooded and those who lost everything working together to minimise the overall suffering.”

Ireland is home to thousands of Brazilian Catholics who regularly participate in Church events, and actively volunteer at parishes.

Fr Severino Pinheiro da Silva Neto OFM Cap., who celebrates Mass in Portuguese every Sunday at St Mary of the Angels, Capuchin Friary, Dublin, said that some of the Brazilian Catholics in Ireland have families in the affected area and the church is providing emotional support.

“Prayers express the hope, but something needs to be done to express the Church’s charity,” he said. Fr Neto is organising a collection during the next Mass on May 12 to be donated to the Diocese of Novo Hamburgo, Brazil.

Fr Neto said the victims’ families in Ireland are scared, but comforted by the love of God. “Now it is time for the Church to act and help,” he said.

“Christ’s love is not only words, but action. He loved us with actions and we should do the same.”