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Thursday, February 22, 2007


VATICAN CITY, FEB 22, 2007 (VIS) - Benedict XVI sent a Message to Cardinal Geraldo Majella Agnelo, archbishop of Sao Salvador da Bahia and president of the National Conference of Bishops of Brazil, for the occasion of the Fraternity Campaign traditionally promoted by the Brazilian Church during Lent, and which begins on Ash Wednesday each year. This year, the campaign is dedicated to the theme "Fraternity and Amazonia" and its motto is: "Life and mission in that land."

  In his Message, written in Portuguese, the Pope writes that "Lent is a time in which all Christians are called to reflect deeply upon the ... social situations of the Brazilian people in which fraternity is most necessary."

  The Holy Father recalls that this year's campaign promotes life - "which shows itself with such exuberance in the Amazon region" - and that this "is part of the broader framework of defense of the environment." The Amazon "is a shared heritage which for its human, socio-political, economic and environmental peculiarities, requires special attention from the Church and Brazilian society."

  "It is in this context," he continues, "that the activity of the Church plays a vital role as she aims to foment a process of widespread evangelization that simulates the mission and creates conditions favorable for the discovery and development of the faith by the entire population of the Amazon region."

  After expressing his gratitude to the missionaries who dedicate themselves to this task "even at the cost of their own lives," the Pope expresses the hope that "the various components of civil society become ever more aware of the question of the Amazon, while upholding the ethical requirements of justice and respect for life."

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