Daily Prayer At Saint Laika’s

* Josimo Moraes Tavares *


O God, author of eternal light, you shed forth continual day upon us who watch for you; that our lips may praise you, our life may bless you, our meditations may glorify you; through Christ our lord. Amen.

( "Sarum Breviary" )

PSALM EIGHTY ( abridged )

Hear, O Shepherd of Israel,
you that led Joseph like a flock;
Shine forth, you that are enthroned upon the cherubim,
before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh.
Stir up your mighty strength
and come to our salvation.
Turn us again, O God;
show the light of your countenance,
and we shall be saved.

O Lord God of hosts,
how long will you be angry at your people's prayer?
You feed them with the bread of tears;
you give them abundance of tears to drink.
You have made us the derision of our neighbours
and our enemies laugh us to scorn.
Turn us again, O God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance,
and we shall be saved.

You brought a vine out of Egypt;
you drove out the nations and planted it.
You made room around it,
and when it had taken root, it filled the land.
The hills were covered with its shadow
and the cedars of God by its boughs.
It stretched out its branches to the Sea
and its tendrils to the River.
Why then have you broken down its wall,
so that all who pass by pluck off its grapes?
The wild boar out of the wood tears it off,
and all the insects of the field devour it.

Turn again, O God of hosts,
look down from heaven and behold;
Cherish this vine which your right hand has planted,
and the branch that you made so strong for yourself.
Let your hand be upon the man at your right hand,
the son of man you made so strong for yourself.
And so will we not go back from you;
give us life, and we shall call upon your name.
Turn us again, O Lord God of hosts;
show the light of your countenance,
and we shall be saved.

Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.

Faithful shepherd of your people,
as we look for the light of your countenance,
restore in us the image of your glory
and graft us into the risen life of your son,
Jesus Christ our lord. Amen.

MEDITATION by Tim Madsen

Josimo Moraes Tavares: defender of the poor, priest and martyr

In these days when certain segments of the United States population are in a frenzy about illegal aliens and undocumented workers, the deportation of a mother and her five year old son back to Honduras, has brought into sharp clarity the hardship of such migrant families.

Josimo Moraes Tavares was a child of migrant workers in Brazil. He was born in 1953. He was born into hardship and poverty, and the stress of their migrant lifestyle eventually broke his family asunder, leaving him as a small child with his mother and sister. They moved to Xambioá, Brazil, where his mother worked as a laundress. Eventually his sister died, leaving him with just his mother in a hostile environment. In Brazil, children like Josimo were often called “orphans of living parents.”

He was a bright boy and was able to go to school. He eventually discerned a vocation to the priesthood and was sent to study first with the Salesians in Sao Paulo, and then with the Franciscans in Rio de Janeiro. It was there that he came under the tutelage of noted liberation theologian Leonardo Boff.

He was ordained in 1979, and immediately became involved with the struggle for land rights that was raging in Brazil. He was a “people’s priest.” He attracted many to the cause, and began to be threatened and attacked by the wealthy landowners.

After an attempt was made on his life in April of 1986, he wrote: “In spite of everything, I want to and will continue to struggle, trying to bring together the need for peace and the Christian mission of creating a fraternal and just world, moving from the situation of the impoverished and oppressed. May my faith be penetrated by political clarity and impregnated by that courage which is a witness of the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ.”

On the tenth of May, 1986, at the age of thirty-six, he was killed. A Brazilian newspaper printed this terse announcement: "the priest of São Sebastião do Tocantins and the coordinator of the Pastoral Land Commission in the extreme north of Goiás, Father Josimo Tavares, was assassinated by two gunmen, 36 years". ( "Correio Brasiliense," 05/11/1986).

Scripture: In the "Gospel of John," chapter sixteen, at verse thirteen we read:

"I have said this to you, so that in me you may have peace. In the world you face persecution. But take courage; I have conquered the world!"


We pray...

... for peace in the world.

... for those who campaign for land reform in Brazil and elsewhere in the world, in particular those who risk their freedom and even their life by doing so.

... for an end to the destructive exploitation of the world's resources at the expense of the environment.

... for people killed or driven from their land by those who want to exploit it for financial gain.

... for an end to the political corruption that allows profiteers to ignore environmental laws and even get away with murder.

... for workers threatened with redundancy.

... for the (at least) twenty-four people killed and those who were injured when a wall collapsed during a wedding party in Bharatpur, northern India. DETAILS

... for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.

... for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.

... for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.

... for ourselves.


Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.


From "From Wasteland to Promised Land: Liberation Theology for a Post-Marxist World" by Robert V. Andelson and James M. Dawsey:

To recognise that "the earth is the Lord's" is to see that the same God who established communities has also in his providence ordained for them, through the land itself, a just source of revenue. Yet, in the wasteland in which we live, this revenue goes mainly into the pockets of monopolists, while communities meet their needs by extorting individuals the fruits of their honest toil. If ever there were any doubt that structural sin exists, our present system of taxation is the proof. Everywhere we see governments penalising individuals for their industry and creativity, while the socially produced value of land is reaped by speculators in exact proportion to the land which they withhold. The greater the wasteland, the greater the reward. Does this comport with any divine plan, or notion of justice and human rights? Or does it not, rather, perpetuate the wasteland and prevent the realisation of the promised land?

This not meant to suggest that land monopolists and speculators have a corner on acquisitiveness or the "profit motive," which is a well-nigh universal fact of human nature. As a group, they are no more sinful than are people at large, except to the degree that they knowingly obstruct reforms aimed at removing the basis of exploitation. Many abide by the dictum: "If one has to live under a corrupt system, it is better to be a beneficiary than a victim of it."

But they do not have to live under a corrupt system; no one does. The profit motive can be channeled in ways that are socially desirable as well as in ways that are socially destructive. Let us give testimony to our faith that the earth is the Lord's by building a social order in which there are no victims.


Gracious God, in every age you have sent men and women who have given their lives in witness to your love and truth. Inspire us with the memory of Josimo Moraes Tavares, whose faithfulness led him to the way of the cross. Give us courage to bear full witness with our lives to your son’s victory over sin and death. For he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.


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