Bishop Anthony B. Taylor spent five days in Brazil to participate in a national catechesis and evangelization conference with the National Conference of the Bishops of Brazil.
The conference came at the end of the country's National Catechetical Year.
From Oct. 5-9 Bishop Richard Malone of Portland, Maine, and Bishop Taylor attended Masses and conferences in Itaci as representatives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Also attending was Father Andrew Small, OMI, the U.S. bishops' director for the Church in Latin America.
It was Bishop Taylor's first trip to South America.
The bishop does not speak Portuguese, the national language of Brazil, but because Spanish and Portuguese are very similar the bishop was able to understand what participants were saying and could read it. The bishop even gave comments in Portuguese after a translator helped him write out his words. A lover of languages who speaks Spanish, Italian, French and German and can read Latin, Greek and Hebrew, Bishop Taylor even studied a Portuguese grammar book before he left.
The meeting included about 500 laypeople and clergy from all over Brazil.
"For a lot of people, it was the trip of a lifetime," he said.
Funds from the Church in Latin America collection, which is taken up in June each year, were used to pay for some of the poorer participants' travel expenses.
Bishop Taylor said he was impressed with the size and diversity of the country.
"There is no Brazilian look," he said, referring to the many different races and cultures that make up the country in South America.
More than 150 million Catholics in 271 dioceses live in Brazil. By comparison, the United States has 67 million Catholics in 195 dioceses.
"It creates the largest Catholic church in the world," he said.
During the trip Bishop Taylor and Bishop Malone discussed with the Brazilian bishops about their concerns of immigrants from their country coming to the United States.
On one day, Bishop Taylor visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of Aparecida. It is one of the largest Marian sites in the world.
"It was a very inspiring place," he said.
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