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Brazil Mission
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Sao Jose - Brazil Mission

Our Mission Statement

To serve those in financial need through our sister parish partnership, building an international bridge of faith, hope and love between our two Catholic parishes.

 
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History


brazil_mapBetween 1992-94, parishioners Jon and Rosie Zatkulak spent 16 months as missionaries in Brazil. They brought their enthusiasm for mission work and their wonderful experiences back to Indiana with dreams of one day making it an expanded parish effort. With the support of pastor Father Tim Kroeger and associate pastor Father David Hellman, their dream eventually became a reality. In August of 2001, a small Catholic parish called Sao Jose (St. ]oseph’s pronounced Sown zhozay) in Imbau, Brazil was adopted as our Sister parish. Imbau is a small, impoverished area in the southern state of Parana, where most of the industry is related to farming and tree logging.

In March 2002, the first group of St. Louis de Montfort parishioners traveled as missionaries to Imbau. Headed by Jon Zatkulak, the group of 10 began to establish a fundamental relationship with our sister parish. While they did not participate in any tangible building projects, they visited with the people of Sao Jose and those living in the 14 rural communities incorporated within the parish. They shared the gifts of faith, love and presence with these wonderful and gracious people, while identifying the needs of their community.

This has led to generous financial support from our parish toward the repair of their church roof and the construction of a 2-story community center at Sao Jose. The new building has replaced the old shed style center, providing adequate space for religious education classes, fellowship opportunities, fund-raising, festivals and several other parish ministries.

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Parish Efforts at Home

 

There are several activities related to the Brazil Mission occurring right here at SLDM.

  • Annually on March 19, the feast day of St. Joseph, we commemorate Sao Jose parish by hosting a St. Joseph’s table (dinner).
  • Over the years, we’ve collected more than 100 barrels of clothing, toys and household items in the spring that were part of our “Barrels for Brazil” program. While the Brazilian government has denied shipments the past couple of years, we’re hopeful that recent law changes will allow us to ship again.
  • We are currently selling handmade Brazilian rosaries in SLDM’s Blessings Gift Shop to support a Sao Jose family who, inspired by SLDM’s initial visit, left Imbau to become missionaries in an even more impoverished region of Brazil.
  • In the SLDM church narthex, Donna Elfering (another three-time traveler to Brazil) maintains our Sao Jose display wall. It includes our “United Hearts’ mission theme, the fireman’s hat presented to team #1 by our Sister Parish in memory of all Americans that lost their lives in the 9/11 tragedy, the Nossa Senhora Aparecida statue given to Team #2, picture updates from our mission trips and other pertinent information regarding upcoming events and activities.
  • Ongoing prayer support for our sister parish both at Mass and in the school.
  • The parish school and religious education classes are involved in various card and letter exchanges with our sister parish and several classes have taken on service projects such as collecting beanie babies, clothing drives and the donation of fund-raising proceeds.
  • We’ve also supported our sister parish by participating in garage sales, the Fall Festival and other ministry events. And, don’t forget to look for and bid on our annual Travel to Brazil” package at the Mardi de Montfort dinner/auction.
 
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Financial Contributions


Since the inception of our Sister Parish relationship, SLDM has contributed over $40,000 in financial assistance to Sao Jose by way of our Parish tithing program and individual donations. The primary use of these funds has been to construct the new and soon-to-becompleted parish community center. In addition, we’ve been able to:

 

  • Replace the roof support structure on their church that was in need of repair.
  • Provide project building funds for families with extreme hardships/special needs.
  • Provide medical assistance and educational opportunities to those that could not otherwise afford it, including some much-needed braces for Padre Nelson.
  • Support the Sheek family during the 6 months they lived in Brazil.
  • Bring Father Nelson back to the United States for his 3 week visit in the Summer of 2004.
  • Support and increase the success or their parish fund- raisers through the purchase of raffle tickets.
 
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