Learning New Lessons

Written by Betenora Bako Liba, São Paul, Brazil

Cross-cultural Studies in BrazilBrazil-Map.jpg

I am a student in my second year of Theology and as part of the formation program, I opted to do my Cross-Cultural Program in our SVD Province of Brazil Central (São Paulo).

I arrived in Brazil on September 9, 2021, and lived for a little more than five months at our provincial house in São Paulo. Throughout these first five months, I was learning Portuguese at a language school not too far from the house. Meanwhile, I had the opportunity to get to know many confreres of the São Paulo area as well as some of the parishes where confreres are working. Looking back, I think it was a nice way to become acquainted with this new culture and context.

One of the lessons, I have learned so far in my CTP experience is the importance of being open to exploring new and often challenging experiences that go with entering into a new culture. The other learning experience I have gained is to strive for and be grateful for community life even amid busy ministerial activities.

Betenora_Story_1.jpgI have had the opportunity to visit several of our parishes in São Paulo and one of the many things that struck me is the efforts confreres make to set aside moments to pray and eat together at least once a day even amid their many pastoral commitments.

I feel very much blessed to do my CTP in Brazil at a time when we are engaging in a journey under the theme of synodality. The Church life in Brazil in my experience is very dynamic and the lay leaders are very much involved in the organization and animation of ministries and of faith communities. Here in Brazil, I am learning, from experience, the communal responsibility and participation of every Christian to the mission of the Church.

Betenora_Dinner.jpgLooking ahead, I will be spending the second year of the program doing ministry in one of the parishes where our confreres are working. I am looking forward to learning more from these experiences and to deepening a little more my understanding of my call as a Divine Word missionary.

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