Province of Brazil

At a glance ...

Provincial Fr. Tomson Michael Aerathedathu, Msfs
Province Councillors Fr. Eldin Singarayan - Councillor & Admonitory, Fr. João Maria dos Santos – Councillor, Fr. Jagannathan Gnanadurai – Bursar
All Professed Members22
Priests 19
Perpetually Professed Members 19
Permenent Members of the Province 10
Theologians 3
Formation Houses
Farm House1

History of the Province:

A brief history of the Fransalians in Brazil
Tomson Aerathedathu msfs

In response to the request of the then bishop of São Paulo to the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales to cater primarily to the spiritual needs of the French-speaking immigrants (a ministry we continue in São Paulo till date and Father Marius Rossier is the parish priest of the Personal Parish of St. Francis de Sales  celebrating the liturgy both in French and Portuguese languages), the then Superior General Father Alphonse Favrat (1920-1932) decided to begin the fransalian mission in Brazil in the year 1926. Fathers Jose Augert, Marcelo Gaydom and Francisco Birraux were the pioneers sent for the same. Father Xavier Schmaderer joined them in the year 1932.

In the year 1932 Father Joseph Augert (it is to be noted that he founded a sisters congregation to teach catechism and they work with fransalians in Tanguá till date and through his personal influence he brought the contemplative group of the Carmelite nuns to have a monastery in Tanguá) founded a minor seminary at Petrópolis in the State of Rio de Janeiro. With the opening of the parish in Caçador in the State of Santa Catarina in 1934 some of the seminarians were transferred to Caçador and there too a minor seminary formation was given. Unfortunately this seminary was closed down on account of the Second World War in 1939.  Frs. Agostinho Dietrich and Joseph Chamou constructed the first parish Church of Caçador which is today a beautiful Cathedral under the patronage of St. Francis of Assisi. In March 1953 we opened the St. Francis de Sales Minor Seminary in Caçador appointing Fr. Birraux as Rector and Fr. Joseph Chappuis as the Vice-Rector with 11 minor seminarians. In 1954 Fr. Henry Nicolet came to work here and in 1956 Frs. Henrique Bourquain and Ernesto Lavorel as well and the number of seminarians went up to 40. In 1958 we opened the first novitiate with 2 novices and Fr. Joseph Chappuis as Novice Master. We constructed a new building for the seminary in 1959. On the 29th of January 1959 the novices made their first profession and went to the seminary of Salvatorians in São Paulo for their philosophical studies. In 1961 Fr. Joseph Chappuis was appointed Superior of the Region of Brazil. A house was bought in Itapecerica da Serra in São Paulo in 1962 and was turned into a formation house for 3 scholastics which was sold off in 1966. In1962 Fathers. Deage Edmundo, John Rodrigues and Claude Bourgeois arrived in Brazil.

In 1965 the region of Brazil was erected into a province and Fr. Chappuis was in charge of the province and thereafter Fr. Hugo Bernardo, who unfortunately left priesthood in 1967. Fr. John Rodrigues was appointed provincial subsequently. In 1967 José Fagundes was ordained priest and in 1968 Agenor Cordobella, José Freitas and Sillos Sganzerla were also ordained priests. João Maria dos Santos was ordained priest on in the year 1985. Agnaldo Costa was ordained priest in 1999. Ladir Bordan João was ordained priest in 2001. Marcelo Cristiano Vieira was ordained priest in 2008.

In 1969 Caçador was erected as a diocese. Between 1972 and 1976 3 fathers  Armanando Bruttin, Raimundo Perillat and Michael Rey left the congregation. In 1976 Fr. Agenor C asked for dispensation from vows and priestly ministry. In 1981 the Cathedral of Caçador was entrusted to the diocesan clergy.

The new minor seminary was built at a central place in Caçador after the arrival of Father. Lindsay Francis Hendricks in 1988 and it turned out to be a junior college with six professors recognized by the state of Florianópolis. It is to be noted that Father Lindsay Francis was provincial of the province for 12 years and resided in Caçador and is buried there.

Our parish in the archdiocese of São Paulo is the first parish in this huge archdiocese to be dedicated to the patronage of St. Theresa of Child Jesus. It all began with the construction of a chapel as part of a promise made to Saint Theresa of Child Jesus by the family Mário Ottoni Rezende in the present location of the Parish Church in the Avenida Bosque de Saúde. After the canonization of St. Theresa of Child Jesus on 17th May 1925 a devotion to her began to spread all over. This chapel which was donated to the Archdiocese was opened for public worship on the 21st of November 1927 by Archbishop Duarte Leopoldo de Silva and the Augustinian Fathers began to celebrate Mass here once a month. In the beginning of January 1929 Father Marcelo Gaydon MSFS who was then the chaplain of the French immigrants and the monastery of the visitation sisters of São Paulo assumed the responsibility of creating a parish in this region. On the 29th of June 1929 it was officially erected into a parish with a vast area and entrusted to the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales and Fathers Marcelo Gaydon and Francisco Birraux served as the pioneers. On the 15th of March 1981 the parish is entrusted perpetually to the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales. At present Father Eldin Singarayan is the priestín-in-charge of the Parish and Fr. Arockiyaraj is the curate. The parish also remembers with gratitude the services of Brother Jacob Truniger who died in the year 2002 in São Paulo.

Our present parish Nossa Senhora Rainha in Caçador was opened in January 1967  by Father Teófilo Glassey and he was officially appointed parish priest in March 1968. In 1971 he left his priestly ministry and applied for dispensation. In 1971 -72 Fr, Nicolet Henri Bernard was appointed parish priest with the assistance from Fr. Sillos Sganzerla. From 1973-76 the pastoral care of the parish was taken up by Fathers Agenor Coldebela e Gabriel Bourgeois and from 1976-81 Father Sillos Sganzerla was in charge of the parish. From 1981-89 Father Joseph Chappuis was the parish priest. Father Sillos continued to take care of the parish together with Father Gillbert Bugnon who came to Caçador in 1992. In the year 1994 Sillos Sganzerla left the congregation and became a diocesan priest and Father Gillberto takes charge as Parish priest from 1994 to 2003. From 2004 to 2012 Father Agnaldo Costa Junior served as parish priest and from 2012 till date Father Francisco Dias is the Parish Priest and Father Justin Francis is the curate. The two parish missions held in the year 1984 and 1995 helped to form lay leaders, catechists and Eucharistic Ministers. At present this parish has 22 substations. The parish also remembers with gratitude the services of Brother Corbinian Neumaier who died in the year 1940 in Caçador and Brother Anton Betz who died in 1984 also in Caçador.

The catholic community of Tanguá was taken care of by the Parish in Itaboraí till the late years of 1960es. Father Joseph Auger MSFS together the a group of religious sisters of the immaculate heart of Mary, a congregation founded by him, took care of the spiritual care of the community of Tanguá since 1956 from Itaborái. Father Joseph Augert was very much respected by the people of Tanguá and very specially by Mrs Terezinha Campins Gonlçalves together with her son Manuel, who was the owner of a Sugar factory which gave employment to many people in the locality. On account of her generosity a beautiful and huge Church was built in Tanguá . Tanguá was raised into a parish on the 6th of January 1968  dedicated to Our Lady of Refuge with Father.Augert as the priest-in-charge. On account of his deteriorating health a diocesan priest Father Delmiro Accioly Motta was called to assist him in the parish. This assistance lasted only for a short period of time. In the year 1970 the congregation transferred Father Claude Bourgeois to Tanguá. At this stage of history the parish did not have a presbytery or a cook and the residence was in the sacristy. In 1974 Father Augert left for his heavenly abode and is buried in the Chapel of the sisters of immaculate conception in Tanguá.. In 1982 Father Claude Bourgeois was transferred and Fr. Thomas Pieters MSFS, who hails from Holland, took care of the Parish. He identified himself with the poor and involved in a lot of social development projects for the people of Tanguá. In the year 1996 Father Jose de Freitas became the parish priest and involved himself in the evangelization of the people of Tanguá. In the year 1998 Father Thomas Pieters died of a heart attack and is buried in Tanguá. In 2003 Father Gilbert Bugnon MSFS was appointed Parish Priest of Tanguá and he too died in Tanguá due to Cancer in 2014 and is buried in the chapel of the sisters of the immaculate conception in Tanguá. At present Father Anthonysamy Benedict is the priest in charge of the parish in Tanguà. From 2009 till date Father Thomas Michael Aerathedathu is the curate in this parish. At present this parish has 10 substations.

The parish dedicated to the patronage of St. Theresa Child Jesus in Guabiratuba in the archdiocese of Curitiba was opened after a negociation between Father Jõao Inácio Rodrigues MSFS, who was 4 terms provincial and many years provincial Bursar, and the  then Bishop of Curitiba. In the year 1980 the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales agreed to take the pastoral care of the parish permanently. It was declared officially a parish on the 12th of March 1981. The installation of Father Olivier Moix MSFS took place on the 15th of March 1981 and he continued to be the parish priest until his death on account of a heart failure on the 17th of August 1991. At present Father Jõao Inácio Rodrigues is the parish priest and Father Jagannathan Gnanadurai is the Curate.

The parish dedicated to St. Theresa of Child Jesus in Ilha do Mel of the Archdiocese of Lodnriana was established at the outskirts of the city on the 4th of April 2002 with Father Bruno Rodrigues MSFS as its first Parish Priest and Agnaldo Costa MSFS as the curate. It has a substation in one of the favelas of the city. The population within the parish territory is approximately 25,000 and mostly immigrants from other states of Brazil like São Paulo and Minas Gerais etc. The people of the locality are very much docile to God. But the lack of a good catechetical and spiritual formation leads many people to participate in the other church denominations which are mushrooming in the locality. Fr. Jõao Maria dos Santos, who is also very much involved in the formation of the Small Christian community in the archdiocese, is at present the Parish Priest and the pioneer of this parish Father Bruno Rodrigues, the curate.

The Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales opened its first ever Mission in the Amazonian region of Brazil in the year 2008 by accepting to take over the pastoral care of the Parish Christ Redeemer in São Geraldo with 24 substations and a population of 25 thousand in the diocese of Santíssima Conceição do Araguaia in the state of Para in the Northern Brazil. This area has historical and anthropological significance. Being close to the protected Amazonian reserved forest there are communities of indigenous people within the parish territory and the famous gold rush of the 1980es took place not very far from this parish. The Araguaia guerilla movements of 1960es and 70es were also within this territory.  Father Ladir João Brondani was appointed parish priest and Father Francisco Dias as curate in the month of August 2008. At present Father Cristiano Marcelo Vieira is the Parish Priest. The province has involved itself very intensely in the faith promotion of this parish by making use of the services of our fathers for pastoral programs.

Province Apostolate:

Parish missions and chaplaincy of sisters. One of our fathers engages at the diocesan level to animate Basic Christian Communities and another one teaches in the diocesan Seminary and other institutes of theological formation in addition to the engagements in the parish. In the recent past we have taken up at the diocesan level the pastoral care of the nomadic people of Brazil whose population in Brazil is about 800 000. One of our fathers is involved in the prison ministry. We also involve ourselves in radio programs evangelizing the people through communication media. We also are forming a missionary team including lay people for the evangelization work in Brazil, starting with our own parishes. The ministry for the renewal of Christian Life is a top priority for the Catholic Church in Brazil and the Fransalians can play a vital role in this area. Our formation and planning hereafter would go in this direction.

Option for the poor and identifying the life-style of the fathers to that of the poor is commonly seen all over Brazil. Therefore, the infrastructures that we have in Brazil remain simple and also the life-style including our dress, meals etc. The virtue of Salesian Simplicity is a great asset for the Missionaries of St. Francis de Sales in Brazil.

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