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By Nigel Challen

The Diocese of Amazonia is struggling there much as we are enduring.

The Cathedral in Belem has been in lockdown since the start of Holy Week. Similarly to us Bishop Marinez is entering their Cathedral once a week and broadcasting a Sunday service from her office once a week. In Manaus, in the eastern part of the Diocese of Amazonia they normally have a 1000 deaths a month, and they currently have 4,000 due to COVID-19.

Amazonia predominantly uses “Facebook” as their platform. Their services include local music. They are also broadcasting morning prayers through Rev. Carlos, Rev. Marcos, and Bishop Marinez. As well as Liam in Manaus. Joseane continues to join Morning Prayer via Zoom at St. Marks, Brantford.

On the ground in Brazil the people are supposed to be in lock down and self-isolation. Stores are closed apart from essential shops. ie, supermarkets and drug stores, similar to ourselves. Joseane says that trips to a supermarket are a struggle. They also have empty shelves. Does that sound familiar?

Brazilians, affected by COVID-19 are in a different age bracket, reporting deaths in people aged 25 to 40 with no underlying health issues as per Bishop Marinez, whereas we are observing cases in an older age bracket 65 years and over.

The Brazilian administration  opposes lockdowns and social distancing; it is more interested in economic gains rather than health concerns, mental health, or the homeless. There is a lot of political struggle among the people during these times. Massive rallies opposing restrictions are happening.

I ask that we continue to pray for them. They need our support in these difficult times.

Nigel Challen is a member of the Companion Diocese Committee.