Between November 20 and 23 of the current year, the Social Week and the 5th Peace Walk were held in the Santa María neighborhood of the city of Aracaju / SE, Brazil. This walk was the fifth one made in the neighborhood, with the clear objective of promoting peace, security and, above all, respect for human dignity.
In recent years, the Santa María neighborhood has gained the reputation of being one of the most violent and insecure neighborhoods in the city of Aracaju. These social problems are caused by the high unemployment rate in the neighborhood, drug trafficking, internal migration of groups of people from other places without taking into account the social and political structure they may need to meet their basic needs.
In response to these pastoral and social challenges of the Santa María neighborhood, the JPIC Parish Association, with the accompaniment of the SVD confreres, the pastor, Father Francisco Hanuszewicz, the vicar, Father Emanuel Gusti, Brother Alfonso Berger and I, organized the Social Week. I was there as JPIC coordinator of the Brazil Norte province, who, together with the laity who work with us, were promoting Social Week in the Santa Cruz parish, which culminated with the peace walk along the main avenue of the neighborhood
The Social Week began on Wednesday, November 20, where I met with the JPIC Parish Association of the Santa Cruz Parish for a formative moment on the Characteristic Dimensions of the SVD.
The purpose of this association is to watch over and accompany everything related to JUPIC's work in the neighborhood. It is composed of lay people, committed to social work in the parish. They are "cells" that help and accompany the work of JPIC in the parish and, in a way, oversee the public policies of the neighborhood. This is an example of a broader and more coordinated work of the JPIC dimension in the BRN province. The second day focused on the issue of Human Rights, with the advice of a social worker. On the third day, the family matters was discussed, addressing various family challenges. And on Saturday, to enclose the Social Week, the Peace Walk took place.
The walk was attended by other religious denominations, among which we can name the Baptist Church, in addition to the different groups and movements that belong to the parish.
They were days of reflection, mainly in regard to our commitment to the promotion of justice and peace for all. It was also an important time to ask the public institutions to meet to the basic needs of the residents of the neighborhood, such as: security, social justice, and respect for the elderly and for the children. (In fact, a few days before, the bodies of two children killed were found).
For more information about the peace walk, I invite you to watch a small video that is available on YouTube, Portuguese version:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TQQq_pqGwyE
By: Bro. Walter Zarza, SVD