October 11, 2004
Close To Home
On Sunday we had excellent meetings at Capitol Baptist Church in Lothin, MD. Today we took advantage of our proximity to Washington DC to do a little sightseeing. When I got back to the place we are staying, and checked my e-mail, the following news item from The Age, and Australian newspaper, jumped out at me:
Brazil bus crash kills 17 people
October 11, 2004 - 6:34AM
A bus carrying 51 people to a Catholic pilgrimage site veered off a country road in north-eastern Brazil, killing 17 people and injuring another 18, highway police said.
The bus driver, who was among those killed, lost control of the vehicle between two curves, local highway officer Francisco Gouvea said. The bus then fell into a five-metre-deep ditch. The police have not yet determined the cause, but suspect the driver may have been speeding.
The bus was on its way from the town of Imperatriz in Maranhao state to the pilgrimage site of Juazeiro do Norte in Ceara state on Sunday night, when it crashed near the town of Crato, about 2,000km north of Rio de Janeiro. The injured were taken to nearby hospitals.
Tens of thousands of pilgrims flock to Juazeiro do Norte each year to revere a 27-metre-tall concrete statue of Roman Catholic Father Cicero Batista, who lived and preached there until his death in 1934. He is held as a saint in local beliefs after a Host he gave a pious woman during a Mass supposedly turned into blood, but was never recognised as a saint by the Catholic Church.
The city of Crato, where the accident took place, is where I spent most of my time in Brazil. Juaziero do Norte, where the pilgrims were headed, is right next door.
Also, the pilgrims were from the city of Imperatriz, which is in my wife's home state of Maranhao.
Since these people were headed to worship the statue of Padre Cicero (I will try to find some pics of him to post later), it is doubtful any were believers. This is truly sad. It is frustrating to hear of events like this, and realize that I am still here, not in Brazil sharing the Gospel with Brazilians.
Posted by Andrew on October 11, 2004 9:45 PM.