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Afro Mass Pelotas01

Voodoo Mass in Pelotas, Brazil

The man you see performing a frenzied dance, above left, is Fr. João Joaquim, aka Fr. JJ, parish priest of the Our Lady of Conception Church (Nossa Senhora da Conceição) in the city of Canguçu, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The Mass took place on November 20, 2011 as a celebration of the African influence in Brazil.

 For this purpose, Fr. JJ found nothing better to do than copy the macumba ritual (Brazilian voodoo) that is made to invoke the Devil. At right you see an actual session of macumba, also called umbanda or candomble, where the mediums, dressed in African apparel, dance around the offerings to the spirits. Fr. JJ,at left, dressing the same way, also dances around the "altar" with its offerings, placed on the floor, as in the voodoo ceremony..

Below first and second rows, he leads some parishioners to a farm building on the outskirts of Canguçu to the strange ceremony. Beating a drum and singing songs, he reaches the site and continues his performance circling the cloth on the floor. He ordered this "altar" to appear  as similar as possible to that which the witchdoctors of macumba use to make offerings to the Devil , as you can observe in the third row.

In the fourth row, Fr. JJ says the Mass and prepares for the Consecration of the bread - a simple commercial loaf. A woman assistant at his side, dressed in African garb, serves as his acolyte. In the fifth and sixth rows, he offers the supposed Body of Christ to be adored by those present in an eccentric way. Sixth row right, instead of a hymn of praise, he beats his drum again. In the seventh row, he distributes Communion.

In the eighth row, Fr. João Joaquin - a red line points to him - attends a Mass for the clergy said by the Archbishop of Pelotas, Joaquim Bergmann. In the insert is his colonial style Church of Our Lady of Conception. In the last row, Archbishop Bergmann receives the palium from Benedict XVI.

Should we blame only Fr. JJ for his macumba Mass or do his superiors who allow it also share responsibility for this sacrilege? 

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Blason de Charlemagne
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Posted December 18, 2011

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