.- A former drug addict from Moscow is one of thousands of recovering drug addicts from around the world looking forward to a visit from Pope Benedict XVI in May. During his trip to Brazil for the 5th General Conference of the Latin American Bishops Council (CELAM) the Holy Father will visit those seeking a fresh start through the “Fazenda da Esperança” program in Guaratingueta, Brazil.
Some 2,000 former drug addicts are now preparing to receive Pope Benedict XVI at the men´s center of Pedrinhas, close to Guaratingueta. The Pope's visit is scheduled May 12th, 2007, a day before the 5th CELAM General Conference is set to begin in Aparecida.
The Russian lady said that she came to the center, which lies some 180 kilometres away from Sao Paulo, because she wanted a comprehensive program that worked. "My friends knew that this treatment works. There is no heroin available here." The young lady told reporters for Aid to the Church in Need that she is recovering by prayer and community work, without other medication.
The “Fazenda da Esperança”, a Franciscan model of healing exists in more than eight countries worldwide, among them Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, and Mexico, and draws participants from throughout the world.
Ulrich Kny, Latin American expert at Aid to the Church in Need's headquarters noted that Pope Benedict’s desire to spend one day of his short trip to Brazil among those involved in “’Fazenda da Esperança,’ shows the importance of the problem of drugs and how much he appreciates the initiative of Frei Hans Stapel.”
“There is not only a detoxification,” he emphasized, “but also the discovery to be loved by God and to make a fresh start. The cured give a vivid testimony of healing by God nowadays, and this way the Gospel finds its continuation.”