AP Photo: Brazilian pastor prays for COVID-19 patients
By FELIPE DANA
Rio de Janeiro (AP)-Pastor Sirio Ricardo has spent nearly two decades helping drug addicts get rid of cocaine. Now, he is working hard to provide spiritual support for another victim of the disaster in Rio de Janeiro: COVID-19.
Ricardo said: “Churches cannot stand by or remain silent,” Ricardo expressed his voice for the passage of the church while singing hymns and prayers with dozens of parishioners and relatives of COVID-19 victims outside the hospital. Busy neighborhood on the north side of the city.
“We are retreating, but this is the time to attack. Now is the time for people to see the church here, ready to open their hands to help.”
According to official data, more than 310,000 people have died in Brazil since the pandemic began, second only to the United States. With more than 36,000 deaths, Rio de Janeiro State itself is one of the worst-hit countries in Brazil.
Ricardo has a long history of preaching on the streets in this city. In addition to serving his God’s Love Gospel Church, he also runs a drug rehabilitation center and regularly ventures into the city’s “cracolandias” (cracked terrain) to provide temporary shelter beds for drug addicts. When he got donations from the local supermarket, he also gave them some food.
After discussing new cases in a crowded hospital in Rio de Janeiro with other pastors, he decided to hold a street corner meeting for the families of COVID-19 victims about a week ago. Ricardo said: “The voice of God can change the course of this situation.” “I feel it in my heart.”
Although experts say singing in enclosed spaces during the pandemic is related to certain COVID-19 outbreaks, Ricardo’s group prays in the open, wearing masks and bypassing hand sanitizer.
Since March 26, Rio de Janeiro has closed restaurants, bars and irrelevant businesses. Mayor Eduardo Paes (Mayor Eduardo Paes) announced new restrictions this week to stop the increase in hospital admissions.
The pastor said that this group was welcomed by the families of patients and he planned to go to more hospitals.
He said: “The Bible says to rob strength from weakness.” “We sing and pray because our voice can give those who breathe the last breath a guarantee of love for God.”