The Opening Ceremony

Londrina welcomes participants to the 14th Inter-Ecclesial meeting of CEBs with a celebration full of symbolic meanings

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The Inter-Ecclesial meeting is a blend of faces, of people who come from around and from far away. They are welcome with the joy of a gathering that had been expected and prepared since long ago. The 14th Inter-Ecclesial meeting of the Base Cristian Communities in Brazil started with an Opening Celebration, full of symbolic meaning where the people of Londrina, land of migrants, received some 3,000 delegates from all over the country.

Pope Francis sent a message to the participants of the event. The letter was read out loud by the head of the Commission for the Lay People in the Brazilian National Conference of Bishops, where the pontiff expresses his “encouragement and blessings” to all participants. The letter says “God is never indifferent towards the suffering of the people” which urges Christians to “lead a personal life in which the light of the Gospel shines”, based on “love and solidarity”. The Pope continues to remind the CEBs to “hear de claims of the poor who hunger for God, for justice and bread” so that the communities may be – in society at large – an instrument of evangelization and promotion of each person.

Finally, the archbishop of Londrina, Geremias Steinmetz, mentioned the importance of defining a methodology to “approach both women and men, so distant and lost in the city, especially in the poor areas… the young people who personally suffer the most difficult problems of the city… the children… those who are the victims of diversity… punished simply because they are different.”

In keeping with the theme of Londrina Friar Betto (Dominican) spoke to the assembly and urged them to organize some kind of demonstration to show solidarity with former President Lula who is awaiting the judgement of the Court of Appeal. If the Court of Appeal upholds the sentence - nine and half years of imprisonment - Lula will not be able to run for president later on this year. This will please the leaders of the coup going on in Brazil at this time. Reelecting Lula as President is the only way to reverse all the setbacks we are facing concerning labor rights, access by multinational companies to natural resources, changes in the pension system which will make it almost impossible for the poor people to retire in their old age.