The largest Roman Catholic geographical district in Brazil, located deep in the Amazon along the Xingu River, has more than 800 Catholic congregations but only 27 priests.
More than 2 million worshippers, pilgrims and onlookers poured around an 11-inch wooden figure of the Virgin Mary as it made its way through the streets. A crush of the faithful heaved and hauled away at a rope that stretched over a thousand feet from the cart that bore the beloved statue, dragging it inch by inch through the sweat-soaked crowd. Bursts of fireworks marked its passage.
Cirio de Nazare is Brazil's largest religious event of the year, and it takes place at the mouth of the Amazon in the northern state of Para.
NCR Today: Synod on the family starts this weekend; Kansas City sexual abuse lawsuit on trial; Obama administration criticizes Israel; Filipino activists began climate walk
During the World Cup in Brazil, a nationwide campaign will raise awareness of the hundreds of vulnerable children at risk of sexual exploitation.
NCR Today: Olmsted's chief medical ethics adviser leaves parish; Detroit archdiocese takes long hard look at itself; Irish bishop contemplates new directions.
NCR Today: Pope Francis reportedly told a fellow Latin American prelate that the ordination of "proven" married men is a possibility if bishops' conferences ask for it.
NCR Today: This week in the media: a sister doles out massages at the ballpark, and one shares the secret of a long, happy life.
The sainthood process is long and complicated, but the procedure is driven by Catholics in the pews, especially those on their knees.
Three key figures in the establishment of the Catholic church in Canada and in Brazil are likely to be declared saints before the end of the year, said a Jesuit who is helping prepare the material needed for their canonizations.
The three speeding their way toward sainthood are: Blessed Jose Anchieta, known as the Apostle of Brazil; Blessed Marie de l'Incarnation, known as the Mother of the Canadian Church; and Blessed Francois de Laval, the first bishop of Quebec.
All Things Catholic: When Pope Francis says he wants a greater role for women, his ideas seem to have little to do with office-holding of any sort.