Street Children Need a Chapel, Says Priest in Rio

RIO DE JANEIRO, MAY 7, 2004 ( Rio de Janeiro’s street children need a chapel to call their own, says a priest.

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Father Renato Chiera expressed this need when he recently visited the headquarters of Aid to the Church in Need, in Germany.

The priest is the president and founder of the organization Casa do Menor Sao Miguel Arcanjo, the largest Brazilian group dedicated to these children.

«Because of the resentments of the population toward street children, it is almost impossible for them to use the chapels in the neighborhood,» he explained.

Father Chiera stressed that the centers run by his group do not have their own chapels, so he asked Aid to the Church in Need’s assistance for a project totaling some 40,000 euros ($48,300) for the street children in the Tinga center. More than 1,300 children, including drug addicts, are living in foster homes. They received guidance and education from a staff of 100 social workers and a number of volunteers.

The organization belongs to the Familia da Esperanca and is close to the Focolare Movement’s spirituality. The first street children’s village was founded in Miguel Couto 14 years ago.

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