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Brazilian members join religious effort to aid needy

SAO PAULO, Brazil — On October 18, the Church participated in the largest interreligious event ever held in Brazil. The meeting occurred in Pacaembu Stadium in Sao Paulo, bringing together about 30 religions and their national representatives.

The event, now in its third year, heeded a special request from the president of the Republic, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva, who wished to recognize the work done by the religions on behalf of the underprivileged.

Sao Paulo Brazil Taboao Stake President Paulo Kretly, in charge of the Multistake Public Affairs Council of Sao Paulo, represented the Brazil South Area Presidency, who were in meetings with mission presidents.

"Religion plays an important role for the country and is responsible for a large part of the social programs coming from the civilian society," said Father Betto of the Catholic Church and special adviser to the president.

Along with religious leadership, the conference was attended by entrepreneurs, artists and federal officials such as Minister Jose Graziano, responsible for the Program of Development and Fight Against Hunger in Brazil.

At the request of the organizers, the Church made a special presentation with a choir of 80 missionaries who sang "I Need Thee Every Hour" and "Because I Have Been Given Much." In the latter, the audience was surprised by the entrance on stage of Liriel Domiciano, a popular young Brazilian singer and Church member.

"Service to others is a principle that the Church of Jesus Christ taught me from very early on, and which has brought me peace and true happiness," Liriel said in an interview with a reporter.

The consensus of religious representatives who participated is that service to one's neighbor is a theme that unites different creeds under one brotherly goal.

Invited to speak to the participants, President Kretly pointed to the importance of service and faith with a principle of action. "Sixty thousand missionaries of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, with those that sang here, give for two years all of their time, talents and energy to benefit their neighbor, without any financial remuneration whatsoever. It is a real demonstration of faith. My family and I feel grateful to have a 19-year-old son who, in this moment, is serving a mission in Japan," President Kretly said with joy and emotion.

At the end, the exchange of hugs demonstrated the spirit of brotherhood and respect among the leaders of the different faiths.

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