An event of gigantic proportions. This is a good definition of the pilgrimage celebrated in Brazil on March, 24 and 25. The largest Marian shrine in the world, that of Our Lady Aparecida, hosted the largest agglomeration of Vincentians worldwide. About forty-thousand members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul participated in the 48th National Pilgrimage of the Vincentians to Aparecida (State of São Paulo), Brazil.

The festival is an annual initiative of the National Council of Brazil (CNB), to celebrate the main founder, Antonio Federico Ozanam, as well as to show the devotion of the members to the Virgin and the love they have for the poor. The last event of the Pilgrimage is a common prayer, in which the participants renew the commitment to serve those who are in a situation of social vulnerability, a commitment assumed when each Vincentian join the SSVP.

The Brazilian meeting had a diverse program. There was a Vincentian Way of the Cross. In it, the participants climbed a hill of 685 meters of altitude, where they remembered the life, death and resurrection of Christ. For children and adolescents, the Social Projects Workshop (event to encourage the creation of social promotion actions), the Cultural Festival of Ozanam (with musical shows), the Ozanam Festival (paying homage to the founder) and the Holy Mass of closing ceremony were held.

Cristian Reis da Luz, president of the SSVP in Brazil, was very happy with the completion of the National Pilgrimage: “Our event was a success of experience and spirituality, as we all did it with these feelings. I want to take this opportunity and, specifically, to thank for the beautiful and brilliant participation of everyone in Aparecida (SP).”

The International General Council (CGI) was represented by Júlio César Marques de Lima, International Territorial Vice President for South America, who, in a brief speech, highlighted the work in partnership between the CGI and the National Council of Brazil, and the international projects and initiatives underway.

The next edition of the National Pilgrimage of the Vincentians to the National Shrine already has a fixed date. It will be on April 6 and 7, 2019.

Source: Department of Communication of the National Council of Brazil, Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.

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