Natal Brazil

Information about the city of Natal, in Brazil.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Pope in Brazil

The Pope Benedict XVI (in Portuguese, he is called Bento 16) arrived today in Brazil, and will stay here until the 14th. Brazil is THE biggest Catholic country in the world.
There are political discussions about the importance of this visit; for example, there is a draft of law in Congress about legalization of abortion in Brazil (today, abortion is legal only in very specific circumstances), and the Pope would have talked about "excomunhão" (expelling from Catholicism) of Deputies and Senators who vote for the law.

The purpose of this post, however, is to remind Catholics visiting Natal that a Pope visited the city in the past.
Pope John Paul II came to Brazil in 1991 (it was his second visit to Brazil), and the first city he visited was Natal. On October 12th, day of the Patron Saint of Brazil, Our Lady Aparecida, John Paul II celebrated a mass at the Cathedral of Natal (see his speach).

John Paul stayed one night in Natal. Instead of the hotels by the beach, the Pope chose to stay at the Centro de Treinamento, a Training Center used by the Catholic Church for meetings and events.
The Training Center is located at the end of Ponta Negra village, about one hundred meters behind the Ponta Negra church.
The Center has, besides meeting halls, some rooms used for accommodation of the people who attend the events.

Last year, I visited the center (I mean: I asked the lady who was guarding the gate to allow me a short entrance), and I was told that, during certain months of the year (from January to March), the rooms are open for other guests.
Catholics may find spiritually significant to visit the center. In the garden, there is a tree (a pau-brazil) which was planted by the Pope.

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