The Belo Horizonte Brazil Temple is now in its construction phase following groundbreaking services held June 17 at the temple site.
Elder Juan A. Uceda, a General Authority Seventy and second counselor in the Brazil Area presidency, presided at the event and offered the prayer dedicating the site for the house of the Lord and the construction processes.
“I ask Thee, dear Father, that this place and all who live within the boundaries of the temple district enjoy special protection,” Elder Uceda prayed. “And may the light of the gospel shine throughout this region. We pray that no influence will stop or delay the building of the temple and that in due time it will be dedicated as the house of the Lord. May Thy spiritual power be strongly felt in this region.”
Elder Uceda was accompanied by his wife, Sister Maria Uceda, and Elder Luciano Sankar, an Area Seventy who conducted the groundbreaking ceremony. The program included several speakers and a choir comprised of local Latter-day Saints.
President Otávio Rietra Dias, president of the Belo Horizonte Brazil Stake, spoke of the examples of early Latter-day Saints who laid the spiritual foundation for the Church in Belo Horizonte. “We must remember their consecrated life and what they did so that we could be here today,” he said.
Longtime Church member Carlos Inéas Bueno, who helped build one of the Church’s first meetinghouses in Belo Horizonte, said: “I want to testify that I know that here, now, with the building of this temple, we will grow stronger and stronger in the gospel in this state.”
The invitation-only event drew some 500 guests, with state and community leaders including Duílio de Castro, mayor of Sete Lagoas; Natalie Oliffson, a representative of the Belo Horizonte secretary of culture; and Álvaro Azevedo, secretary of social service from Nova Lima.
“It’s an honor to be here today,” said Mayor de Castro. “I know that the temple is highly anticipated.”
Belo Horizonte temple history
The Belo Horizonte Brazil Temple — a single-story edifice of approximately 26,884 square feet — is being constructed on an 11.8-acre site on Rua Professor Jose Vieira de Mendonça in Belo Horizonte. The site location and an exterior rendering were released Sept. 23, 2021.
Brazil is home to 20 total houses of the Lord, including nine dedicated and operating temples, which are located in Belém, Campinas, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo. The Brasília Brazil Temple is completed and has been scheduled for its open house and dedication later this year.
The Belo Horizonte temple will join another in Salvador already under construction. Eight more temples have been announced and are in planning and development stages — in Londrina, Maceió, Natal, Ribeirão Preto, Santos, São Paulo East, Teresina and Vitória.
Nearly 1.5 million Latter-day Saints reside in Brazil, comprising more than 2,100 congregations. Missionary work first began in Brazil in 1928; 50 years later, the country’s first temple — the São Paulo Brazil Temple — was dedicated.