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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Pope Francis sends message about fraternity to Brazil

The Holy Father, Pope Francis has sent a message to the faithful of Brazil on the occasion of the 54th Lenten Campaign of Fraternity, organized by the Brazilian Bishops' Conference.  This year, the Fraternal theme: Brazilian ecosystems and defence of life, with reference to the biblical verse The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden, to cultivate it and to care for it (Gen 2:15):

Message of the Holy Father, Pope Francis
for the 54th Lenten Campaign of Fraternity

Dear brothers and sisters of Brazil!

I wish to join you in the Fraternity Campaign that, in this year 2017, has as its theme Fraternity: Brazilian ecosystems and the defence of life, encouraging all Brazilians to broaden their awareness of the global challenge, which all of humanity is experiencing, calls for the involvement of every person as well as the involvement of local communities, as I have emphasized in many points within the Encyclical Laudato Si', concerning the care of our common home.

The aim of this year's Fraternity Campaign, inspired by the passage from the Book of Genesis (cf Gn 2:15) is to take care of creation, especially the Brazilian ecosystems, gifts from God, and to promote fraternal relationships with the life and culture of peoples, in the light of the gospel.  Since we cannot fail to consider the effects on people's lives of environmental deterioration, current models of development and the throwaway culture (LS, 43), this Campaign invites us to contemplate, admire, be thankful for and to respect the natural diversity that is contained in the various ecosystems in Brazil - truly a gift from God - through the promotion of respectful relationships with the lives and cultures of the people who live in them. This is one of the greatest challenges in all places on the earth precisely because environmental degeneration is always accompanied by social injustice.

The people who originate in or who traditionally live in them offer us a clear example of how it is possible for us to live together with creation in a manner that is respectful, full and merciful.  Therefore, we must learn from these people and from their relationships with nature.  In this way, it will be possible for us to find a model of sustainability that can serve as an alternative to the rampant desire for profit which exhausts natural resources and does harm to the dignity of the poor.

Every year, the Fraternity Campaign takes place during the season of Lent.  It is an invitation to live with more awareness, determined by a paschal spirituality.  Communion in the Passover of Jesus Christ has the capability to bring about permanent and integral conversion which is, at the same time, personal, communal, social and ecological.  I therefore reaffirm that which I recalled on the occasion of the Extraordinary Holy Year: mercy requires us to restore dignity to those who have been deprived of it (Misericoridae vultus, 16).  A person of faith who celebrates the victory of life over death at Easter, cannot remain indifferent when he becomes aware of the situation of aggression against God's creation that is present in Brazil's ecosystems.

I wish you all a fruitful Lenten journey and I pray to God that the 2017 Fraternity Campaign will obtain its objectives.  Invoking the company and the protection of Our Lady of Aparecida upon all the Brazilian people, particularly in this Marian Year, I impart upon you a special Apostolic Benediction and ask you not to stop praying for me.

From the Vatican
15 February 2017

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