Fr Bernadinus (Bedi) Asmon svd, a young missionary from Indonesia, who undertook his formation in Australia, is now living and ministering in Brazil where he has discovered that music is the common language with the people he serves.
Fr Bedi, who spent five years studying in Australia, before his final vows and ordination in 2014, has been in Brazil since March 2015.
In that time, he has lived in a few different communities, including some very poor regions, and he is now busy learning Portuguese and working in a parish in the city of Feira de Santana, the second biggest city in the state of Bahia.
“The death rate here due to violence is very high, around 5-8 people per week, and many of the victims are young people,” he says.
Despite not having mastered the Portuguese language yet, Fr Bedi says that music is helping to break down barriers with the party-loving Brazilian people, especially young people.
“Nearly every month there is a celebration of the patron saints of the community,” he says. “It goes on for days. The people love to celebrate and they love music and dance!”
Fr Bedi says he enjoys ministering to the youth group through music and sport. Every Saturday at 6am he is up playing Futsal with young people from the parish.
Despite the challenges of learning to speak in the language of the people he is living amongst, Fr Bedi says he is enjoying the process.
“I’ve found that verbal communication is only a tiny part of human communications,” he says. “The people, the parishioners have been very supportive, friendly and hospitable to me.
“It has been a great journey so far, and I am looking forward to the new adventure that God is inviting me to, and journeying with the people who have become my family in Christ.”