Brazil Friars Seek Support for Hunger Strike

HNP Communications Franciscan World

ROME — A recent letter from Joseph Rozansky, OFM, and Vicente Felipe, OFM, has asked for support of the hunger strike being conducted by Franciscan Bishop Luiz Cappio in Brazil. The bishop, who was in the 14th day of his strike when the letter was distributed on Dec. 10, is demanding that the Brazilian government cancel plans to re-route the San Francisco River in Northeast Brazil, the second largest of the country.  

It is the second time that the bishop has begun such a strike, the letter said.  “The first ended when Lula (Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva), president of Brazil, suspended the project and agreed to a dialogue about its future. Dom Luiz maintains that the government has not fulfilled its part of the bargain. He has decided to re-initiate his fast until the government removes troops from the region and agrees to interrupt the project.”

Russell Testa, director of Holy Name Province’s Office for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC), recently distributed the letter to members of the Province’s JPIC directorate, encouraging awareness by friars and Franciscan affiliates.  

Testa said: “The call for solidarity with Franciscans and all persons throughout the world seems to grow ever louder as we see more crises in the environment. Our prayers and letters of support for Bishop Cappio are a small way to strengthen the bonds of solidarity. I fear, without stronger action on global warming and resource sharing, we will need to voice this call of solidarity with greater frequency.”

The friars in Brazil are asking for letters of support, sent in any language.  See the links below for information.

On Dec. 17, demonstrators held vigils in Brazil to protest the river diversion project that caused the bishop to initiate his hunger strike on Nov. 27.  Information about the  hunger strike in which the bishop participated two years ago appears on the Web site of  Franciscans International.