Painel histórico Redentoristas
“Christianize the festival of the (then) Barro Preto”. It was with this objective that the Bishop of Goiás, Dom Eduardo Duarte da Silva traveled to Germany, around 1891, to request assistance for missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. This story of love, dedication and hard work of the Redemptorists in Goias began on December 12, 1894, when they established residence in Campininha das Flores today Campinas, district in the capital of Goiânia (GO).
May 29, 1895 was the official entry of the Redemptorists in Barro Preto, but only in 1924 the religious were granted permanent residence in the city, which at that time became known as Trindade. The presence of the Redemptorist missionaries, fathers and brothers, and the spirit of St. Alphonsus Liguori, founder of the congregation gradually transformed the physiognomy of the Pilgrimages, initiating a process of education in the faith of the faithful, creating new communities, assisting in the organization of the Church diocese, establishing new parishes and efforts without measure towards the whole people of God, no matter the distance.
Don Eduardo Duarte da Silva assumed the pastoral care of the Diocese of Goyaz in 1891. He met the reality of the people of the countryside, and with special attention, was concerned with the pastoral festival of Barro Preto, which brought together many people on the first weekend of July and did not receive adequate assistance from the Church. The bishop went to Europe in search of a religious congregation to attend the pilgrimage, make holy missions in southern diocese, and take care of the Parish of Our Lady of the Conception of Campininhas of Goiás.
He visited several superiors of religious congregations, but got no positive response. He searched the Superior General of the Redemptorists, Father Matthias Raus, who also denied the request. Don Eduardo was already quite discouraged. According to Msgr. Francisco Inácio de Souza, who accompanied the journey of the Bishop that night Father Matias had a dream with the founder of the congregation, St. Alphonsus Liguori. And the next day, he searched for Don Eduardo, and recommended that hw went to the Bavaria to speak with the provincial superior, Father Antonio Shopf, which would send the group of missionaries to Goias.
Don Eduardo went to Germany and organized the details of the group travel to Brazil. Soon they learned that half of that group would have to stay in São Paulo. The Fathers designated to Goiás were: Gebbardo Wiggerman, John of Matha Spath, Michael Siebler, and the cleric Lawrence Hubbauer, besides the brothers Norberto Waggenlehner, Ulrico Kammeier, Gebardo Konzet and Floriano Grilhist.
The group of pioneer missionaries met in the Bavarian monastery of Gars on September 20, 1894, and received the visit of the Superior General, with guidance on the challenges they would face in Brazil. Father Matias left a blessing that was certainly the blessing of Alphonsus Liguori himself, the founder who established the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer for the most abandoned, the forgotten mountains of Naples, and (why not ?) the ones from the Brazilian backlands. This was the impression of the very chief of the mission, Father Gebardo, a year after his arrival in the country: “I’m seriously tempted to say that the Congregation was founded especially for Brazil.”
There were 16 days of travel, arriving in Rio de Janeiro on October 21. Those who came to Goiás departed from there on Nov. 5. They went Uberaba by train, in the company of Don Eduardo, in a two-day trip. From there they left by horse on November 17, towards Campininhas of Goiás, in a journey of 480 kilometers, which lasted 26 days.
The saga ended on December 12, 1894, 1pm. It was raining heavily. Completely soaked, they arrived finally at their destination. They were welcomed by the vicar, Father Inácio de Souza. Facing the Mother Church of Our Lady of Conception, full of gratitude to God and the Virgin Mary, they all sang the Te Deum. At the end of the trip: it was the beginning of Redemptorist mission in Central Brazil.