Peneirei Fubá – Sifting Cornmeal, Part III : Laudato Si’
Don Pribor, Church Worker Justice Organizer, is writing a series of blogs about his trips to Brazil this year and his efforts to develop relationships with progressive Brazilian Catholic organizations.
In my last blog post, I spoke about my first experience of the Brazilian Base Christian Communities. I participated in a five day meeting for international visitors that was held in the town of Cariacia, which is one of the municipalities in the metropolitan area of Vitória in the Brazilian state of Espírito Santo. I recently paid a visit to my friends in Cariacica and we went to Mass on Sunday at the Vitória Cathedral.
The Brazilian church has given great attention to Pope Francis’ encyclical about the ecological crisis. The name of this encyclical “Laudato Si’” come from the first line of St. Francis of Assisi’s hymn to creation and means “Praised Be“ in English. Some elements of the Brazilian church have been very active in the environmental movement and there is a growing awareness of the beauty and fragility of Brazil’s many ecosystems. The basilica dedicated to Brazil’s patron saint, Our Lady of Aparecida, is full of beautiful artwork that depicts these ecosystems.
At the Mass at the Vito?ria Cathedral, we were given a worship aid that surprised me because of the moving words to the official prayer and the hymn for this year’s Fraternity Campaign sponsored by the Brazilian Bishops’ Conference. The whole Brazilian church is being asked this year to reflect upon Laudato Si’.
Here are the words to the prayer and the hymn in my translation from Portuguese to English:
Prayer for the 2017 Fraternity Campaign
Theme: “Cultivate and Take Care of Creation” ( Gn. 2:15 ) Motto: “Fraternity: Brazilian Biomasses and the Defense of Life”
God, our Father and Lord, we praise you and bless you for your infinite goodness. You created the universe with wisdom and you handed it over to our fragile hands so that we would care for it with tenderness and love.
Help us to be responsible and zealous for our Common Home.
Increase, in our immense Brazil, the desire and the willingness to care more and more for people’s lives and for the beauty and richness of creation, nourishing the dream of the new heaven and the new earth that you promised.
Hymn of the Fraternity Campaign 2017
1. May you be praised, o Lord, for mother earth, who welcomes us, make us joyful and gives us bread ( cf. Laudato Si’, n.1).
We want to be your partners in the task of “ cultivating and taking good care of creation”.
a. Laudato Si’ – Pope Francis’ encyclical about the ecological crisis and the responsibility of all people to respond to it. Written in 2015.
Refrain: From the Amazon to the Pampas, from the Cerrado to the Manguezais, may our song of life and peace come to You
Pampas– flat plains in the southernmost part of Brazil which borders Argentina and Paraguay
Cerrado– vast tropical savanna in central Brazil
Manguezais – ecosystem along the entire Brazilian coast situated between solid ground and the ocean
- Seeing the richness of the biomass that you created, with happiness you said: everything is beautiful; everything is good!
In order to take care of your work you called us to preserve and cultivate such a great gift (cf.Gn. 1-2 ).
- Along the entire coast of our country you spread life; there are many faces– from the Caatinga to the Pantanal: Black people and Indians, rural people: beautiful people, fighting together for a more equal world.
Caatinga – unique ecosystem found only in Brazil, arid semi-desert, in Brazil’s Northeast
Pantanal – the world’s largest tropical wetland found mainly in the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul
Black people- In Brazilian Portuguese, there are two words for the one English word “black” : preto ( the color black ) and negro ( used by Afro-Brazilians to describe themselves politically). In this song, the word “ negro” is used, and it does not have the offensive connotations in Portuguese that it has in English. Translating “ negro “ as “ Afro-Brazilian” is awkward, through “Afro-Brazilian” sounds better in English to many Americans.
Indians– unlike in Mexican Spanish, the Portuguese and Spanish word “ i?ndio” is not offensive in Brazilian Portuguese. The word “ indi?gena” ( indigenous ) is also used in Brazil, but in this song the word “ i?ndio” is used.There is no direct Brazilian translation of the US term “Native Americans”
- Lord, now you lead us to the desert and then you speak tenderly to our hearts
(cf. Hosea 2:16) to show us that we are such diverse peoples but the same God makes our hearts beat.
- If we contemplate this “mother” with reverence, not with visions of profit or ambition, consumerism, wastefulness and indifference become struggle, commitment and protection ( cf. Laudato Si’, n. 207 ).
- May a new ecology grow among us (cf. Laudato Si’, chapter IV) where people, nature
and all of life at last can sing in the most perfect symphony to the Creator that made the earth his garden.
Together, let us be the the church we know is possible! Join the transformation.