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Health workers administer Covid-19 tests in rural Brazil Health workers administer Covid-19 tests in rural Brazil  (ANSA)

Pope Francis lauds solidarity initiative in Brazil

Pope Francis sends a message through Cardinal Michael Czerny praising the efforts of the Sem Terra Movement in the fight against hunger amid the Covid-19 crisis in Brazil.

By Vatican News

As the world continues to battle challenges caused by the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, the Sem Terra Movement (MST) – a movement of landless workers in Brazil - is helping vulnerable people fight the scourge of hunger. So far, the movement has distributed 2,500 tons of food.

In a message sent on 25 July, the Day of Rural Workers in Brazil, Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ, Under-secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, expressed Pope Francis’s appreciation for the solidarity initiative amid these trying times.

“On behalf of Pope Francis, and also on my part, we wish to express our joy at the kind gesture of food distribution being done by the families of the Agrarian Reform in Brazil,” reads the message.

“Sharing of the produce of the land to help needy families on the peripheries of cities is a sign of the kingdom of God that brings about solidarity and fraternal communion.”

Sharing brings life

Cardinal Czerny recalled that when Jesus saw the hungry crowds, he was filled with compassion and multiplied the loaves to feed them. The people ate and there were still leftovers (Mk 6:34 – 44).

“Sharing produces life, creates fraternal bonds, transforms society,” he said.

“We hope that this gesture of yours will multiply and encourage other groups to do the same,” he added, “because ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ (2 Cor 9:7).”

Blessings

Concluding the message, Cardinal Czerny invoked God’s blessings and protection on the people amid the ongoing Covid-19 crisis.

“May the Holy Spirit protect you from the Covid-19 virus, and give you courage and hope in this time of social isolation!” he prayed.

“And on this day of those who till the land, may our good Lord protect and bless all the families who work the land and struggle for the distribution of land and care for our common home!”

Sem Terra Movement

The Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) was started in the 1980s to create access to land for poor workers through land reform in southern Brazil.

Today MST is present in 24 of the country’s 26 states, and caters to about 370,000 settled families and about 100,000 displaced families. It also involves 100 cooperatives, 96 industries and 1900 associations.

28 July 2020, 16:31