Batatais, Brazil. Dom Pedro Casaldàliga, CMF, a bishop who, in his struggle for the poor and indigenous communities, has had to face the military dictatorship, the powerful local landowners, and even the Vatican, now has to face his Creator, the giver of his life. Today at 9:40 a.m., August 8, 2020, he who was once “barefoot on red soil” is now barefoot in the Father’s House. It is time to open his heart full of names of people whom he met, whom he served, whom he lived with, whom he loved.
Pere Casaldàliga i Pla (real name in Catalan), born on 16 February 1928 in Balsareny, Catalonia, Spain, joined the Claretians and professed on 08 September 1945 and was ordained a priest in Barcelona on 31 May 1952. He moved to Brazil as a missionary in 1968. And on 27 April 1970, Pope Paul VI named him Apostolic Administrator of the Territorial Prelature of São Félix, and the following year on 27 August 1971, the same pope named him prelate of that jurisdiction and titular bishop of Altava.
Dom Pedro is one of the most known practitioners of Liberation Theology. He has received numerous awards, including the International Catalunya Prize in 2006. He is well known for his work in support of indigenous peoples. He has published at least ten volumes of poetry. Pope Francis, in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Querida Amazonia, released on February 12, 2020, cited one of Dom Pedro’s poems, “Carta de navegar (Por el Tocantins amazónico)” in El tiempo y la espera, Santander, 1986.
Dom Pedro has had Parkinson’s disease since at least 2012. When he was brought to the hospital two days ago in Batatais, the doctors said that aside from the advanced Parkinson’s, he also had water and severe infection in both lungs which also led to other complications in breathing and great difficulty in communicating.
The wake will take place in three locations: Batatais, Ribeirão Cascalheira, São Félix do Araguaia. His body will be veiled on August 8, 2020, from 3 pm in the chapel of the Claretian University in Batatais, located at 466 Dom Bosco Street, Castelo, Batatais, São Paulo, Brazil. The funeral mass will be celebrated in Batatais on 9 August 2020 at 3 pm in the same place mentioned and will be open to the general public. It will also be transmitted live via the CLARETIANO TV (https://youtu.be/spto8rbKye0). The link will be open for other media outlets to broadcast.
The body of the bishop will also be veiled at the Martyrs’ Sanctuary in Ribeirão Cascalheira from August 10th, with no estimated time of arrival. And in São Félix do Araguaia, the body will be veiled at the Tia Irene Community Centre. The burial will be in São Félix do Araguaia.