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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Journey to Juazeiro

  • Author(s): Slater, Candace
  • et al.

Approaches to an Urban Pilgrimage in Northeast Brazil

One of the Brazilian interior’s fastest growing consumer meccas, Juazeiro do Norte also remains the center of a seemingly traditional religious pilgrimage that draws several million visitors to the city each year. The pilgrims—who have become a national media icon for an older Brazil—pay homage to the priest Father Cicero Romão Batista (1844-1934) in a journey initially triggered by his role in a reputed miracle in 1889.1 Much of the Roman Catholic hierarchy opposed anything that had to do with Juazeiro for well over a century and supported the attack by government soldiers, in 1914, upon the city, whose defenders repelled them.2 Today, new challenges from Evangelical Protestantism in a region once considered a bastion of Catholicism have led Rome to consider the restoration of Father Cicero’s long-suspended priestly orders.3 At the same time, the Araripe Basin, in which Juazeiro is located, has become the first United Nations geopark in the Americas—a prestigious recognition of the region’s identity as a home to ancient geological formations and remarkably-preserved fossils of interest to eco-tourists.4

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