Brazilians Meet and Pray in New York

     Brazilians Meet and Pray 
in New York

    After the mass, which
    lasted just over an hour and ended with the
    distribution of ashes to those who missed the ritual on Ash
    Wednesday, the congregation descended to the church’s main hall,
    where a lunch was offered. The music varied while the crowd
    slowly filled the dance floor after dessert had been served.
    by: Ernest
    Barteldes

    On the first nice Sunday New York had in many weeks, the growing Brazilian
    community in lower Manhattan celebrated the second anniversary of their weekly
    meetings at the Portuguese-language mass at Our Lady of Pompeii Church on
    Carmine Street in Greenwich Village.

    At 1:30 pm, the church
    was packed, something that does not happen every day there. Regulars brought
    family members who don’t usually come, and though it was the first Sunday
    of Lent (a period of prayer and fasting for Catholics), everyone there seemed
    to be in a very celebratory mood.

    After a solemn ceremonial
    entrance, Italian-born Father Joseph Cogo, the parish’s vicar, welcomed all
    of those present in English and commented on how the idea of having a Brazilian
    mass meet there two years ago came to be, and said how pleased he was to see
    that a community had formed—which is something that was quite pleasing
    to see.

    The mass was presided
    by Father Sérgio, a Brazilian immigrant from the strongly Italian/German
    populated southern state of Rio Grande do Sul.

    In his brief homily, he
    focused on the day’s scriptures, which were about the 40 days in which Jesus
    spent in the desert and how he’d been tempted by Satan.

    He took the time, however,
    to praise the efforts of everyone in the Brazilian community—a large
    group of hard-working immigrants who left their countries in search of better
    opportunities here—in coming together and effectively turning Our Lady
    of Pompeii into their home away from home.

    After the mass, which
    lasted just over an hour and ended with the distribution of ashes to those
    who missed the ritual on Ash Wednesday, the congregation descended to the
    church’s main hall, where a lunch was offered by the midtown-based Churrascaria
    Plataforma.

    Tickets were sold for
    a mere $ 5 (funds were raised to pay for the expenses of the community), and
    more people showed up than was expected, which forced organizers to make last-minute
    arrangements with the food. Small portions were served at first, but as the
    restaurant rushed extra helpings downtown, participants were able to have
    second and even third servings later on. Drinks were also made available.
    Soft drinks were sold for $ 1, while beer and wine went for as little as 2
    dollars.

    The music varied as the
    DJ played samba, forró, and other Brazilian rhythms while the
    crowd slowly filled the dance floor after dessert had been served. Everyone—including
    Father Sergio, Father Cogo this writer and friends—were having a great
    time, and by the time I left the festivities were far from over.


    Ernest Barteldes is an ESL and Portuguese teacher. In addition to that,
    he is a freelance writer who has regularly been contributing The Greenwich
    Village Gazette since September 1999. His work has also been published
    by Brazzil, The Staten Island Advance, The Staten Island
    Register, The SI Muse, The Villager, GLSSite and
    other publications. He lives in Staten Island, NY. He can be reached at
    ebarteldes@yahoo.com

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