The long distances of the Amazonian region makes it difficult for health care professionals and missionaries to reach communities
As Catholic communities look forward to the results of the Synod on the Amazon, that will take place next October in the Vatican, fresh initiatives are already being put into practice in the region. One of the most emblematic ones – and which gained rare attention in Brazilian secular media – comes from the Diocese of Óbidos, in Northern Brazilian state of Pará.
Headed by German bishop Bernardo Bahlmann, OFM, the diocese has built a boat that will navigate the Amazon River for about a thousand kilometres, offering permanent health and spiritual care to 11 communities or about 700 thousand people. The boat is manned both by health professionals and religious missionaries.
This original idea came up in a meeting between Pope Francis and Brazilian friars, led by Fr. Francisco Belotti, OFM, in 2013. The project of the “Hospital Boat Pope Francis” also receives support from Justice public authorities.
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With thanks to The Tablet and Aparecido José, where this article originally appeared.