"Farms of Hope" Representatives Gather in Germany

BERLIN, AUG. 30, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Following World Youth Day, representatives of 31 “farms of hope” held their general assembly for the first time in Germany.

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The farms of hope (“fazendas da esperanca”) were set up as faith-based recuperation centers for young alcoholics and drug addicts. The project began in 1979 when Franciscan Frei Hans Stapel, a German missionary, arrived in Brazil.

Cardinal Georg Sterzinsky, archbishop of Berlin, celebrated a solemn Mass last Saturday at the “Gut Neuhof” community, near the capital, with an international attendance, including faithful from Argentina, Brazil, Guatemala, Mexico, the Philippines and Russia.

“We depend on God’s mercy,” the cardinal said in his homily. “With human efforts we will always try to avoid or overcome suffering. But to achieve this objective, we need love for Our Crucified Lord.”

Since the start of the farms of hope, thousands of desperate young people have left their “drug careers” behind and found a new life in Christ. Today, there are 27 such institutions in Brazil.

“Gut Neuhof,” founded in 1998, houses 40 young men. The farms get financial support from the Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.

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