“Celebration of Memory and Longing” pays homage to the more than 600 thousand lives lost in Brazil’s COVID-19 pandemic

In October 2021, Brazil officially passed the tragic number of 600 thousand deaths from COVID-19.  In the face of this sad landmark, the Bahia Ecumenical Council of Christian Churches (Conselho Ecumênico Baiano de Igrejas Cristãs: CEBIC), the Ecumenical Coordination of Service (Coordenadoria Ecumênica de Serviço: CESE) and ecumenical and inter-religious member organizations of the #SilenceforthePain campaign and the #BreatheBrazil collective, held a “Celebration of Memory and Longing” aimed at affirming human life and paying homage to the victims whose lives were interrupted, many of them early, due to government negligence and a lack of public policies, and in solidarity with the bereaved families.

The celebration took place on 2 November, All Souls’ Day, at the British Cemetery in Bahia, on the Ladeira da Barra in Salvador, Bahia.  The act, with 600 flags planted on the lawn containing the names of those who have departed, was charged with emotion, faith, solidarity and resistance.

“It was a day of prayer, in fellowship with our brothers and sisters from CEBIC, for the bereaved families, for the children who have been orphaned, for the pains of the world,” noted Bianca Daébs, Pastor of the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brazil (Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil: IEAB) and CESE Advisor for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Dialogue.

“Throughout the pandemic, so many loved ones have left us and we weren’t able to accompany them, or say our farewells in a cemetery.  The pain of loss was added to that of not being present.  Today, in this very special Anglican cemetery, looking at all the names on the little white flags, I have been able to say farewell to the dear ones who left us during the pandemic.  This celebration of memory and longing has allowed me to experience my grief, to heal the wounds that opened up inside me.  We would like to offer the comfort of God to all the bereaved families and the strength to be able to experience this farewell,” said the creator of the #SilenceforthePain campaign, Henrique Peregrino da Trindade, who was very moved.

Click here to watch a short video of the act (in Portuguese)