.- On the occasion of Ash Wednesday, which in Brazil marks the beginning of the Campaign of Fraternity - dedicated this year to the defense of Amazonian inhabitants - Pope Benedict XVI sent a letter expressing his admiration for the heroic missionaries who preach the Gospel in that region.
In his letter, the Pontiff underscores that Lent is “a time in which each Christian is invited to reflect in a particular way on the diverse social situations of the Brazilian people which demand greater fraternity.”
Referring to the campaign’s goal of helping the peoples of the Amazon, the Pope pointed to the related issue of the defense of the environment and noted that the Amazon region “constitutes a common patrimony that, because of its environmental, economic, socio-political, and human reality, requires special attention from the Church and from Brazilian society.”
“In continuity with my venerable predecessors,” the Pope continued, “I desire to make an act of gratitude to all those brave missionaries who have dedicated themselves and are dedicated, even at the expense of their own lives, to bringing the Catholic faith to the cities and towns of the region; men and women who, out of love of God, devote their bodies and souls to the spreading of the Kingdom of God in this Land of the Holy Cross.”
“As the Campaign of Fraternity begins this year, I renew my hope that the diverse sectors of civil society will come together on the issue of the Amazon in respect for the ethical demands of justice and of respect for life,” the Pope said in conclusion, imparting his Apostolic Blessing upon all Brazilians.