Since May 10, members, friends and residents of the city of Curitiba and surrounding areas have had the opportunity to walk through the fifth temple to be constructed in Brazil.
This new temple, which will be dedicated June 1, will serve members in Curitiba, a city of approximately 1.8 million residents, its surrounding metropolitan area, interior cities of the state of Parana, and the neighboring state of Santa Catarina. Approximately 25,000 members of the Church live in metropolitan Curitiba. There are 37,000 Latter-day Saints in the state of Parana and more than a million throughout Brazil.
The city of Curitiba has been known as a model city for its collective (public) transportation system, which has been copied in several other cities in Brazil and around the world, including New York City. With Curitiba considered an organized city, with an exemplary ecology, the construction of the Curitiba temple followed these standards.
The history of the Church in Curitiba goes back to April 22, 1938. At a meeting held that day there were only four people — all from the same family — and a few missionaries.
In 1939, Elder James E. Faust, who later became a member of the First Presidency, labored as a young missionary in Curitiba. Many Brazilians became acquainted with the Church during those early years. It was a time when some first heard the gospel taught in the German language, because of the strong German influence in the State of Parana.
The history of the legacy of Church members is full of inspiring stories, demonstrated by the faith of a humble and hard-working people and their dedication to the Lord. Consisting in great part of immigrants from Germany, Italy, Poland, and other countries, members have been waiting a long time for the blessing to have a temple in their area. There are several reports of members who in the past have sold their possessions to be able to travel to distant temples to be sealed to their families.
It is estimated that approximately 50,000 people will attend the open house, which will conclude May 24. On May 31, some 5,000 participants will present a cultural event to more than 25,000 people.
During the open house, after glimpsing the beauty of the interior of the temple, the secretary of the mayor of Curitiba immediately called the mayor from the outside area of the temple and said that he really should come and see that magnificent building.
The visitors have been fascinated with the beauty of the temple. Church members are emotional for the wonderful blessing that they are receiving. The youth who are serving visitors by helping to put protective covers on their shoes, show in their eyes how they are deeply touched. Many cry while visiting the House of the Lord for the first time, especially while entering the rooms where one day their eternal marriage ceremonies will take place.
Many visitors have had strong and moving feelings. The promise that after stepping on that ground their lives won't be the same is accomplished.
"This temple is evidence of the growth of the Church in Brazil," said local Church spokesman, Fernando Assis. "It is the fifth temple constructed on Brazilian soil. The other four are located in Sao Paulo, Recife, Porto Alegre and Campinas. A sixth is planned for Manaus."