Gatherings for the Assumption: São Paulo & Caruaru / Brazil

Every year, our communities in Brazil celebrate the Assumption of Mary with the lay groups "Friends of the Assumption". Each community chooses its own way of celebrating, in line with its situation. We give below the accounts from the two communities of São Paulo and the community Padre Inácio in Caruaru.

Gatherings for the Assumption: in São Paulo on the 26th of August

 
Expectation
Every year, with the approach of the month of August, hearts are already filled with enthusiasm at the thought of this encounter which is always full of joy, sometimes tinted almost with anxiety, above all on the part of those who offer us their unfailing presence. The good spirit can be felt right from the start of the preparatory meeting for the organising team.
 
The celebration: 
Warm embraces and infectious smiles marked the arrival of each group being welcomed by the team available for the occasion, with the joy spreading throughout the house and the garden. The work involved by the event was taken on by persons and groups from the neighbourhoods and basic communities where we are now, or where we had been in the past. One group prepared the celebration, another the songs with the musical accompaniment and this group also wrote warm and welcoming phrases on posters that were then placed in strategic places. Another group set out blank sheets of paper on which various persons wrote some words of encouragement or thanks for the sisters and for a life that is committed in love, confidence and the struggle for a better world. Another group prepared the setting for the celebration and the lunch and yet another prepared the basic dishes to be served at lunch. We say "basic" because each family brought something to share with all. The flavours were varied, and delicious. And, as for the multiplication of the loaves (cf. Jn 6:5-14), "they all ate and there were full baskets left over" which were shared among the families to be taken home. 
 
The prayer: 
Usually, the celebration of the Word with distribution of the Eucharist is celebrated by the "Friends of the Assumption" and the Eucharistic ministers of their communities. This year, João Luiz, of the local basic community, was our celebrant. After the reading of the day (Jos 24:1-2; 15-18; Jn 6:60-69) he asked us to question ourselves carefully about "whom we wish to follow". In a world where happiness is sought in possessing things we, Christians, friends of the Little Sisters, we must know whom we wish to follow. He also commented on the importance of placing at the service of others the goods we have acquired and give as an example the house of the Little Sisters that is always open and welcoming and where the sisters have an attitude of service, affection and joy. The Eucharistic rite enabled us to be in communion with all the family of the Assumption in the service of the poorest. 
 
After that, the community of Mauá described their experiences during the week they visited the community of Ibirité in Minas Gerais. They recalled: the talents of each of the sisters, which form the harmony of the community; the wonderful welcome; the services that are offered among the poorest in the neighbourhood; the courage of Bete in her struggle and her confidence in the painful chemo-therapy treatment. 
 
Finally, we went to the little grotto where there is a statue of Our Lady of the Assumption. What a lovely procession it was, with over 60 people walking along the paths, singing and praying! 
After that time of celebration, what better than a real meal with a Brazilian-style barbecue, conversation music and joy in the little rustic cabin at the bottom of the garden! It was unforgettable. 
 
For us, Little Sisters, it is always an immense encouragement to see the extent to which the project of Father Pernet and Marie de Jésus is relevant and how it is being carried out today. 
May Mary, as Our Lady of the Assumption, be our model of a welcoming, courageous, wise and generous woman. 
 
Sister Dirce and Laurinda das Freitas Duque
(Tabão da Serra and Jardim Monte Kenmel in São Paulo)
 

In Caruaru (Padre Inacio community): on the 11th of August 

"The whole life of Mary was gradually integrated into that of Jesus and into the history of the Reign; what we are celebrating today is the final success of a work to which she consented, with which she collaborated and to which she gave herself fully." 
(Dolores Alexander) 
 
Our community marked the festivities of Our Lady’s Assumption in all the celebrations of our pastoral area, sharing the Word and speaking of the meaning of the consecrated religious life. Especially, we met during the evening of the 11th of August 2012 with the little group of lay people we have been accompanying since March of this year to reflect on and celebrate the Assumption of Mary here in Vila Padre Inácio. 
 
We began with a time of prayer that was inspired by Mary’s Magnificat, offering with her the reasons we had to give thanks and praise to the God of life. We also prayed for those who engaged, in the past and at the present time, in our spiritual journey, and for those who contributed to our faith experience. It was emotional because, at one time or another, one of those present gave the name of a sister as the one who was at the beginning of that person’s journey in following Jesus in the project of the Reign of God. 
 
Before highlighting the importance we as a Congregation give to the Assumption of Mary, and how it guides us, all the persons present were invited to express, individually, which title of Mary meant most to them. As we are in Brazil, it is only normal that the one mentioned most frequently was "Nossa Senhora Aparecida". We introduced the subject for reflection with some historical elements such as the solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary and its significance from the beginnings of Catholicism: how, in the 7th century it was celebrated under the title of the "Dormition of Our Lady" and how another century was to pass before "Dormition" made way for "Assumption"; this was proclaimed solemnly in 1950 by Pope Puis XII. 
 
We presented to the group the aspect of the Assumption that is lived out by the Congregation, and for this we took number 12 of our Rule of Life: 
"… Like (Mary) the woman of her people, we are often present at the humble beginnings of the Church. Her Assumption gives us the certainty that a new world is being prepared; she sustains our hope and gives us the courage to dedicate ourselves with our brothers and sisters in work for the transformation of humanity." (RL 12) 
 
Immediately after that we recited the prayer for the Pact that Mother Marie du St Sacrement made at the national pilgrimage to Lourdes in 1901 and which Mother Marie Madeleine Termont renewed on the 15th of August 1971: 
 
‘We come to you Mary, with deep gratitude and complete trust. 
We thank you for all the graces received this year. 
Once more we confide our apostolic life to you. 
Teach us to serve Christ and to participate in his mission of salvation. 
We promise you fidelity to the Church and to the demands of our vocation. 
Our Lady of the Assumption, lead the Congregation according to the plan of God.’ 
 
Then we shared in a delicious Brazilian lunch. 
 
With affection, 
The Padre Inácio community
25/10/2012
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