.- During a recent visit to the international headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need, Bishop Manoel dos Reis de Farias of Patos, Brazil, said he was pleased by the large numbers of Catholics in his diocese, but he warned, “To be Catholic by name is not enough.”
Bishop dos Reis said there is a need to “promote a Catholic conscience among the faithful,” who in his diocese account for 90% of the 400,000 inhabitants. He also underscored the need for a sound and solid faith formation of laity, which he hoped could be fostered by a new theological institute which he established in February of this year.
“Due to a lack of facilities, this year only 60 lay leaders can take part in the courses offered by the institute. For 2007 and the following years, we expect 120 people per year to attend these courses,” he said.
Bishop dos Reis also noted the importance of Church-run mass media in order to counteract the influence of aggressive sects, especially among young people.
In addition to the formation of laity and Catholic mass media, he continued, “popular piety is a third ‘pillar’ of evangelization” in the Patos diocese. “Currently, we are preparing a large popular mission, including door-to-door visits, in all the 28 parishes. I am convinced that the Papal visit to Brazil will contribute to the success of this project,” he said.