Friends of Campos, Inc. is a new US-based not-for-profit providing grants to support the seminary and the social and educational projects of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, located in Campos de Goytacazes, Brazil. The region, under the bold guidance of Dom Antônio Castro-Mayer, was a great preserve of traditional Catholic life during the tumultuous period following the Second Vatican Council. Thanks to his encouragement at that time, the region continues to be one in which traditional Catholic life and liturgy flourish.
The Personal Apostolic Administration was formally erected in 2002 by the Holy See by the decree Animarum Bonum to conserve the liturgical, doctrinal and cultural traditions of the Catholic Church, in full communion with the Magisterium. The community as a whole has thirteen parishes, six rectories, fifteen private Catholic schools, four homes for the aged, and eight associations of women religious. Some 35 priests serve in a community of over 30,000 active parishioners. The seminary takes up to 40 young men for formation, and is expanding to accept up to 80, as demand consistently exceeds the available space.
While the focus of Friends of Campos is on supporting the Seminary, which is the spiritual and cultural heart of the community, grants are also offered for projects at social and educational institutions run by the Personal Apostolic Administration around the diocese. Friends of Campos works with a local board of clergy to evaluate and select proposed projects and administer grants.
Although the area is rich in traditional Catholic culture, it is very poor materially, and even modest donations go a long way towards the needs of the community. The Coronavirus epidemic which has hit even developed countries hard, brings more difficulties to Campos which has few of the resources needed to fight the health problems and economic devastation. The unbroken Tradition of faith acts as a bulwark in troubled times, but material support - even the basics of food and hygiene - are always needed.
2020 took a sharp turn to the unexpected in February, with the growing spread of, and worry about, the new coronavirus. It has spread rather well in a few Brazilian cities, mostly those with a lot of international visitors. Friends of Campos had planned on announcing our project at Easter, and had the site already online, but by then most of the world was quite distracted by the virus, and Brazil was already in reaction mode, so we decided to leave the announcement for a month or so and see how things developed.
While most diocese closed Catholic churches quickly some, including the diocese of the Personal Apostolic Administration, kept churches open for private prayer and Confession. Around Rio, where our president lives, priests have been making good efforts to provide access to Adoration and Benediction, whether by standing in front of the Church as parishioners pass by, or attending to an outdoor altar for Adoration on Church steps, so passersby can stop to pray, or by carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession, on foot or in a vehicle, blessing people around their community. As in other communities Masses as well as recitations of the Holy Rosary, Vespers, and other liturgy and devotions are livestreamed.
The seminary of the Personal Apostolic Administration moved their July holiday up to April, in the hopes that by May things would be back to normal. Since it now appears that normal may not soon return, efforts are being made to restart the semester as soon as possible. Besides the logistics of taking care of the health of the seminarians, clergy, their families, and parishioners, there is the problem of running an institution which survives on monthly donations from the parishes, which are much lower than normal due to many people being out of work. The economic crisis caused by the shutdown of many services and businesses has affected all of the parishes and their associated social and educational institutions, too.
The projects we have featured on our site are ongoing, though in light of the current situation, priority will go to basic support for food, medicine and operational costs.
We decided that given the only increasing needs of the community, and the unknown timeframe of this tumult, we might as well move ahead with announcing our project and hope that you may be inspired to give what you can in support of this unique traditional Catholic community. Brazil’s economy being what it is, even a modest donation in dollars goes a long way, and any gift you may wish to give is most gratefully appreciated.
Friends of Campos, Inc.
Friends of Campos, Inc. is a US-based not-for-profit (501c3) which supports the social and educational projects of the Personal Apostolic Administration of Saint John Mary Vianney, most of which are located around the diocese of Campos dos Goytacazes in the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.