On September 8, 2023, the Brazilian Province of Divine Mercy of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception marked the 25th anniversary of its canonical establishment. The celebration extended over three days, September 7-9, in parishes in Curitiba, where the provincial headquarters is located.
The first day of celebration, September 7, took place at Holy Family Parish. The Votive Mass of Saint Joseph was presided over by the Provincial Superior, Father Claudio Gomes dos Santos, MIC, and concelebrated by the Vice Provincial, Father Silvio Roberto, MIC. Various priests who serve in the 10 parishes where the Congregation currently works in Brazil were also present. The congregation expressed gratitude for these 25 years of canonical installation and for all its collaborators who daily assist in the work within the province and its parishes.
In his homily, Father Silvio recalled the significance of September 7th, Brazil’s Independence Day, and delved into the entire period of colonization in the country; the first Mass celebrated by the Portuguese; and Pero Vaz de Caminha’s plea to the King of Portugal for the evangelization of Brazil. He highlighted the nation’s blessedness, with various saints being canonized due to miracles that occurred in the country. He also acknowledged the work of all the collaborators of the Congregation of the Marian Fathers, such as the propagation of the Divine Mercy, initiated by Father Jan Glica; the Diary of Saint Faustina through Father Andrezinho; and the Casa Pró Vida Mãe Imaculada, which works to save babies from abortion; and the intensive efforts to recruit new vocations. In closing, Father Silvio recalled the role of Saint Joseph as a just man and also the long history of the Holy Family Parish, which has been under the care of the Congregation for 54 years. The Prayer of Saint Joseph was recited before the final blessing.
The second day of the Silver Jubilee celebrations, September 8, the actual anniversary of canonical installation, was the busiest of the triduum. The day began with Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and recitation of the Marian Rosary at our Seminary of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, followed by lunch. In the evening, the Perpetual Vows Profession took place for one of the seminarians from the Province, Brother Gustavo Alberto Pavan, MIC. The Holy Mass was held at St. George Parish and was presided over by the Provincial Superior, Father Claudio Gomes dos Santos, MIC. The celebration was attended by priests of the Congregation who work in the 10 parishes under the Congregation’s care, as well as deacons and religious.
The welcome and presentation of the clergy were done by the Rector of the Major Seminary of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, Father Ednilson de Jesus, MIC. After the proclamation of the Gospel, done by the newly-professed Brother’s uncle, Deacon Pavan, Brother Gustavo bid farewell to his parents and baptismal godparents with a fraternal hug and then presented himself to the Congregation of the Marian Fathers, requesting admission to Perpetual Vows.
In his homily, the Provincial Superior greeted everyone present and emphasized the joy of the Congregation in receiving another member consecrated in perpetuity, as well as the joy of 25 years of the canonical installation of the Brazilian Province. He also mentioned the feast of the day, the Nativity of the Virgin Mary, celebrated nine months after the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. Addressing the newly-professed Brother, he highlighted that the decision to profess vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty in perpetuity often appears as sterility, like a young person renouncing worldly possessions, foregoing the building of a family, not owning property, and adhering to rules. Rather, a young person consecrated to God becomes a sign of God’s love among people. Being consecrated today is a source of contradiction and prophecy; being of God is uncommon in today’s world. He also emphasized that Mary was entirely of God, which means being consecrated and set apart for God. God is not a burden; only He can provide the security sought after. We are called to generate joy, have a heart like Mary’s, who, as in the Magnificat, rejoices in God’s joy. The Constitutions of the Congregation invite us to “follow Christ’s example and let the Immaculate Virgin Mary guide us.”
During his vows profession, Brother Gustavo received the white habit from the Provincial Superior, brought by his godparents. He is the first Marian in Brazil to receive this habit. The white habit has returned as a solemn garb after many years of not being used, as it was discontinued due to religious persecution. After the celebration, the Brazilian Province hosted guests for a dinner to commemorate the 25th anniversary of canonical installation and the Perpetual Vows Profession.
The final day of celebrations, September 9, took place at the Divine Mercy Sanctuary in Curitiba. Some of the Marian Auxiliary members (Godparents and Vocational Godmothers) from the parishes where the Congregation carries out its pastoral work were present. After breakfast, the morning session began with lectures, which were delivered by Father Jair Batista de Souza, MIC, the Novice Master; and Father Marcos Szczepaniak, MIC, the Director of the Marian Auxiliaries. In his lecture, Father Jair discussed two topics: “The Marian Fathers and the Laity” and “Lay Christians and Mission.” Father Marcos recounted the entire history of the Congregation of Marian Fathers, from its founding with St. Stanislaus of Jesus and Mary, through the renewal with Archbishop Jorge Matulaitis, to its arrival in Brazil 59 years ago up to the present day. The morning session concluded with a Holy Mass presided over by the Provincial Superior, Father Cláudio Gomes dos Santos, MIC.
Brother Humberto Ferreiro, MIC