The Fifth Assembly of the Basic Ecclesial Communities – CEB – of the Prelature of Tefé was held at the Tefé International Mission and was well attended. In fact, 900 urban, indigenous, and river leaders traveled from many different communities in this region (from Solimões Tefé, Alvarães, Uarini, Fonte Boa, Maraã, Japurá, Juruá, Carauari, and Itamarati) in order to meet together at the church of Saint Joseph in Jutaí (July 10-14, 2019). It took many hours and many days, even up to a week, of sailing up and/or down the rivers of the region to arrive at this gathering … and some 30% of the participants were young men and women. The theme of the gathering was: Youth in the Church and in a permanent state of mission!
One of the objectives was to establish and strengthen relationships among young people and to prepare for the Amazon Synod which will be held in October (in Rome). The participants were encouraged to live their life in accord with the gospel demand: “Do not be afraid! Go forth and proclaim the Good News! “(Matthew 28:10).
The meeting was given a general title: “The Amazon: new paths for the Church and for an integral Ecology.” It was a beautiful experience, which revealed a Church that is totally organized on the model of Basic Ecclesial Communities.
Special thanks go to the Vincentian Bishop, Dom Fernando Barbosa dos Santos, CM; and to the three confreres, Abel Cuetocué, CM; Rogelio Toro, CM; and Alexander Fonseca, CM, who minister in this International Mission and who with very few resources have been able to accomplish much!
Biography of Fernando Barbosa dos Santos, C.M.
Bishop Fernando Barbosa dos Santos was born on 5 March 1967 in the city of Sertânia, Pernambuco, Brazil.
He studied philosophy at the Salesian Institute of Philosophy in Recife, Pernambuco. In 1991, he completed his theological studies at the Regional Pastoral Institute in Belém, Parana. He entered the Congregation of the Mission (the Brazilian Province of Fortaleza) on January 25, 1993 and took his vows on February 11, 1995; he was ordained on January 20, 1996.
His pastoral assignments include: 1996 – 1998, vicar in Saint Anthony parish in Quixeramobim, Ceará; 1998-1999, formator in the Internal Seminary of the Province of Fortaleza; 1999-2000, administrator at Saints Peter and Paul parish in Fortaleza, Ceará; 2000-2003, Director of St. Vincent de Paul Seminary (Thelogate) in Belém, Parana.
Father Fernando was elected the Visitor of the Province of Fortaleza in 2003 and held that position until 2009. Then he became Provincial Econome, 2009-2014, and at the same time served as pastor of Saint Joseph parish in Tucuruí, Parana, (2009-2010), and pastor of Our Lady of Remedies parish in Fortaleza, (2010-2014). He was also an advisor at the Youth Center of St. Joseph’s region in the Archdiocese of Fortaleza.
On May 14, 2014 Pope Francis appointed Fr. Fernando a bishop of the Prelature of Tefé, Amazonas. His episcopal ordination took place in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Fortaleza on August 28, 2014. Archbishop José Antonio Aparecido Tosi Marques, Archbishop of Fortaleza, was the main consecrator and Archbishop Vicente Joaquim Zico, C.M., Archbishop Emeritus of Belém and Archbishop Sérgio Castrianni of Manaus were co-consecrators. He chose as his motto: Servus Christi Mission (Servant of Christ on the Mission). On September 21, 2014 he was installed in the Prelature Cathedral of Saint Therese in Tefé.
The Territorial Prelature of Tefé is located in the city of Tefé, in the Ecclesiastical province of Manaus, state of Amazonas in Brazil. This area is about 264.669 sq. km and has an estimated population of 243.494 persons (2007) who are living in 14 parishes. About 75% of the population are Catholics. This area includes 10 municipalities: Itamarati, Carauari, Juruá, Jutaí, Fonte Boa, Uarini, Alvarães, Maraã, Japurá, Tefé. There are about 405 river communities and 40 urban communities and 88 indigenous communities. The Prelature of Tefé is an ecclesiastical district of the Catholic Church in Brazil, belonging to the Archdiocese of Manaus, and to the North 1 region (north of Amazonas and Roraima) of the CNBBB (National Conference of Bishops of Brazil). It was founded on May 23, 1910 and on August 11, 1950 it was promoted to the rank of Territorial Prelature. Dom Fernando is the first Vincentian to lead the Prelature. Members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit were administrating the Prelature since its foundation.