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Father Pedro, the Polish priest who boats his way to serve the indigenous people of the Amazon

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This priest serves 35 communities living in the Amazon, facing two major threats.

As he moved to Brazil, the Polish priest Piotr Szewior became “Father Pedro.” Speaking fluent Portuguese, he is the pastor of a parish in the city of Tefé, in the middle of the Amazon rainforest, west of the country.

But Father Pedro does not only serve this parish. He is also responsible for 35 indigenous communities living in the broader Tefé area. Due to the geographical conditions of the region, touring this area to serve all these communities can take as long as three months. 

These are communities who have preserved their customs, their culture, and their traditions, but have at the same time discovered the Catholic faith, passing it from generation to generation in their families.

Father Pedro is the one bringing the Word of God to these regions, and who administers the sacraments to these communities. His arrival to each of these villages is always a social event: babies are baptized, couples are married, the sick are anointed… The Eucharist, thus, reaches every single village, no matter how remote or how small.

The life of those living in these villages is already hard but, as Pope Francis pointed out, they are also victims of the injustice of major landowners who are abusing the natural resources of the Amazon.

Indigenous communities are virtually defenceless against those who destroy the forest. But another danger threatens them: that of losing the true faith, as Pentecostal preachers “who promise a better and easier life” —Father Pedro explains— are constantly approaching them. 

To keep the flame of faith alive in these communities, Father Pedro needs to boat his way through the river. Now, he visits his communities in a boat that got to Tefé thanks to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The boat with which Father Pedro can now travel to serve these parishioners is a Gift of Faith, a donation made by people from all over the world to collaborate with the work of the Church, even in the most remote corners of the world.

This Christmas, the Gift of Faith each one of us can give will help bringing God into the hearts and families of many. Is there a gift greater than faith?

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