5th Archdiocesan Pilgrimage for the Defense of the Environment in Minas Gerais-Brazil

The State of Minas Gerais, whose capital is Belo Horizonte, where a Vedruna Community is located, is a region rich in subway minerals, which justifies the name “State of Minas Gerais”. Due to this characteristic, many domestic and foreign mining companies are present, extracting the mineral in a healthy or unhealthy way.

Five years ago, on January 25, 2019, in the Metropolitan Region, city of Brumadinho, one of the mines exploded, burying under the mud 272 people who lost their lives, of whom three are still missing.

Mining companies, without supervision and control, in addition to causing human deaths, destroy the environment, compromise our habitat, destroy water sources, contaminate rivers with minerals of different types, damage the land, displace families and groups such as the indigenous and Quilombolas (black resistance groups) whose history was marked by the struggle for their rights.

On June 8, supporting the celebration of World Environment Day, celebrated on June 5, the Archdiocese of Belo Horizonte, through the Social Pastoral Sector, organized its 5th Pilgrimage to the Contagem Region, a municipality not far from our Vedruna house. Joaquim Mol, bishop of the Social Pastoral, was walking all the time with his people.

This pilgrimage aimed not only to fight against the style of mining carried out in the State and supported by your Government, but also against the real estate construction of some condominiums that also affect our springs, preventing the Bom Jesus River from flowing free and clean through the region.

The Belo Horizonte Community, along with many other popular movements, was present at the walk that lasted about four hours, making several stops to pray and better understand what is happening to our environment. In the end, the sisters, along with other elderly people, were invited to board a transport that helped them reach their destination.

The pilgrimage began with a delicious breakfast and ended with lunch for those who wished. It was a day full of awareness and provocation for the commitment to our Mother Earth.

Sr. Virma Barion, CCV