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sexta-feira, fevereiro 26, 2010

Save the date - 17th June, Day of Conscience

On the 17th of June, 1940, Aristides de Sousa Mendes, then Consul of Portugal in Bordeaux, decided to follow the dictates of his Conscience and grant visas to all the desperate refugees who besieged the Portuguese Consulate in Bordeaux, despite direct orders to the contrary.
The city had temporarily become the the capital of France, as the French Government escaped from the advancing Nazi army. 
Charles de Gaulle had departed for London, where he was about to call on his countrymen to join him in "la resistance"...

Now, 70 years later, we are asked to save the date of 17th-June to commemorate this Act of Conscience which is considered one the greatest rescue actions undertaken by a single person during World War II.

On that day, join the many friends of Sousa Mendes who will gather in various cerimonies and religious events in thanksgiving and recognition for this extraordinary Act of Conscience and altruism.

17- June-2010   Vatican, Church of Santa Maria de Transpontina
A thankgiving and memorial mass will be celebrated by three Cardinals: 
William Levada, a Portuguese-American, Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, and formerly bishop of San Francisco
Renato Martino,  for many years the Permanent Observer of the Vatican at the United Nations
Cláudo Humes, a Brazilian,  Prefect of the Congregation of the Clergy

Events are also planned for Belgium, Bordeaux, Lisbon, Newark, New Jersey, Brasil,  among others. 

You too can join in this movement and organize a mass or other ecumenical event in your community.

This initiative repeats the series of 30 masses and ecumenical events which took place in 2004, the 50th anniversay of the death of Sousa Mendes.  Then and now, this movement has been mostly at the initiative of João Crisostomo, a Portuguese American living in New York who has contributed significantly to making the Sousa Mendes story more widely known.  Crisostomo is a Vice President of the Wallenberg Foundation and coordinator of the Angelo Roncali Foundation.
Together with Sousa Mendes, the events will also recall the similar actions of the Brazilian diplomat Luis Martins Sousa Dantas, another of the "Diplomats for the Dammed" who issued "Visas for Life". 

We will provide further details on these events as they become availalbe.
Source:  LusoAmericano, JCrisostomo
Ver versão em português no Beijoz XXI

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