The seminarians have made this video showing aspects of daily life at the seminary as well as expressing their gratitude for your help, and their hopes and needs for the coming year.
I returned from Campos last month, my first visit in more than two years due to the
pandemic. The visit was shorter than I would have liked, but in a few days I was able to see
and be encouraged once again by the 40,000 person strong traditional diocese. In an age
when death and decline are much about us, that wild, mountainous terrain is filled with life
and growth. It reminds one of how the church must have looked in Italy a few centuries ago,
with religious orders everywhere, catholic families abundant, and architectural delights
appearing in all corners.
It was perhaps this last that makes the biggest impression since it is so noticeable and so
iconic. Not a church or shrine or hospital or seminary exists where some project small or
large to improve is not ongoing. With colonial baroque or continental gothic as models, new
churches spring up unexpectedly, built for hundreds of faithful to use at a time, and old
churches see new decorations. The church of Bom Jesus and the seminary of the Immaculate
Conception are two examples of this. In the former there are 5 Masses on a Sunday filling the
800 capacity church to the brim. Meanwhile decorators carefully paint the ceiling in blue and
gold. In the seminary, the facade has just been completed and painted and rooms are ready to
hold 80 seminarians.
And how is there so much life and growth? While the work of the bishop, priests and
religious all contribute, it is the Faith expressed through their love of Tradition which unites
them throughout. Once again I encourage you to support this good work that through our
little help, and God’s protection, they might continue to flourish in these difficult times.
Dom Benedict Nivakoff, O.S.B.
The sisters gave us a lovely short concert on our visit in September, using the new instruments the donations from Friends of Campos helped to purchase. It was very touching to see them taking advantage of the donations to build an ever-growing, ever-improving sacred music program. They also sing and play at the town cathedral and are responsible for the formation of many children, so their development in music positively impacts the entire community.
There is a very cool pilgrimage in a rural and remote village in the diocese of Campos that happens each September. It involves a long steep hike up to a mountaintop Crucifix, where Mass is celebrated to commemorate a miraculous gift of rain that saved the coffee harvest years ago.
This reel on instagram has video clips of the day’s events.
That was the seminary in 2004. Eighteen years later they are finally completing the building. Take a look!
As the finishing touches are put on the cementing and painting of the exterior, the driveway is slowly being paved. This month a local business donated the use of machinery for grading and compacting the driveway and funds are being raised in the parishes to buy the paving blocks that are being laid (they are about 10 dollars USD per square meter, and 2000 square meters are needed):
The fire road around the perimeter of the large property was also re-graded. It’s important to maintain and improve this road to protect against grass fires in the dry season or during sugar cane harvests. When properly compacted and finished it will also be a lovely loop for the seminarians to use when exercising.
Friends of Campos was honored to be interviewed on the “Le Nouvel Esprit” Catholic podcast. We talked about the history and current situation of the Apostolic Administration and our experiences visiting Campos. Le Nouvel Esprit is a new Catholic podcast - please take a look and share the link! The podcast page is here, or you can listen on Youtube.
Seminarian Wanderson was ordained to the subdiaconate on August 21st. Please pray for him!
Here are a few photos of the ceremonies:
The Cathedral of the Apostolic Administration in Campos was formally consecrated and dedicated on August 27th. It is not a common event to witness, and the Cathedral was standing-room only.
Below are a few photos:
I was able to visit the seminary in mid-June and was delighted to see in person the impact that your donations have had. The projects proposed late last year have been completed. There are new wardrobes in the dorms and rooms. There are new large desks and chairs in the rooms. There is a large new computer workstation area adjacent to the library.
In fact, the contrast with the state of things a few years ago is really remarkable. I realized that the newest seminarians don’t have any experience of the half-finished building, the ‘library’ in storage rooms, the workstations in the dorm corridor, the broken desks and creaky chairs, or myriad other needs, large and small, that have been improved with your help since we began our fundraising.
The donations from overseas seem to have inspired extra support from regional industries, too. This year a paving company has begun donating nice stones to fill the long driveway and parking areas. A team of workers is finishing cementing and painting the whole exterior, which was previously in a chronic state of not-quite-finished.
And because of the steady trickle of extra funds the seminary has been able to hire several part time workers to help with ongoing maintenance and two groundskeepers to water, mow, and prune the large property. For the first time the fruit trees are flourishing in the orchard and the grass is always cut. The oldest dorm rooms, in the very first wing of the seminary, are also being repainted and repaired.
The whole picture is now so much more cheering to the soul and more encouraging of focus on prayer and study. I am very pleased that Friends of Campos has been part of this improvement. Without our help much of it could not have happened, and certainly not so quickly.
Our goal for the coming months is to continue providing monthly support for food, healthcare, fuel and other regular expenses. We currently receive approximately $500 US a month in recurring donations. We would like to make that $1500 a month. Recurring donations are particularly useful for guaranteeing steady support. If you are an occasional donor, we urge you to consider a recurring donation instead. It is much appreciated! Please help us meet this small mid-year goal!
Fun aside: you might enjoy the many colorful photos from Corpus Christi on the Instagram page of the Apostolic Administration.
by Ona Kiser, President
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.