About Brasilia



"Two axes crossing in right angle, in other words, the Sign of the Cross itself”
(Lúcio Costa)


Cruz ermida de Dom Bosco.

Indelible races of spirituality mark the geography and the history of the capital of Brazil.
In the beginning of February in 1955, Marshal José Pessoa Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, Chairman of the Commission for the Location of the New Capital, accompanied by Marshal Mário Travassos and physician Ernesto Silva, visited the Central Plateau. In April same year, he asked the Governor of the State of Goiás, José (Juca) Ludovico, as one of three urgent measures, the erection of a cross in the highest spot of the area.
Thanks to the efforts of the determined and hard-working engineer Bernardo Sayão, vice-governor of the State of Goiás, a beautiful Cross was there lifted. They thought of a Mass to be celebrated at the place on July 9 1955 by Cardinal Jaime de Barros Câmara, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, in the presence of President Café Filho. Upon request of the same dynamic Bernardo Sayão, Salesian priest Cleto Caliman presided a Mass at the site in February 1956.
On June 15, 1956, at 9:30, Bernardo Sayão landed in a small plan, on a rough path. Fast-paced, he was able to turn it into an airfield. He then ordered that on its margins gigantic letters almost five meters each should be written in lime, forming the name Vera Cruz.
On October 2, 1956, on his first trip to Brasília, president Juscelino Kubitschek landed on the airfield, where later a bus/railway terminal was built up. He, his entourage and the hosts - among them the Governor of the State of Goiás Juca Ludovico, and Bernardo Sayão, then the New Capital’s executive director - promptly headed for the big wooden Cross, at the highest point of the region.
A cross of unique beauty is found on top of Dom Bosco Hermitage designed by Oscar Niemeyer upon request of Israel Pinheiro. In a triangular pyramid shape, the first brickwork completed in Brasília opened on December 31, 1956. The place attracts numerous visitors all over the year, among them many devotees in terrestrial or nautical procession, on the Sunday closest to August 30, date when, in 1983, occurred the famous dream of the visionary saint who predicted the appearance of a promised land between parallels 15 and 20.
Great urbanist Lúcio Costa, who was the winner of the contest of the Pilot Plan on March 26, 1957, expressed the inspiration for his project this way, "The current solution was generated by the simple gesture of someone who marks a territory and then takes possession of the ground: two axes crossing in right angle, that is, the own Sign of the Cross.” At the Cross site in a place half way where today the JK Memorial and the Military Cathedral are located, at a height of 1, 173 meters, Cardinal Carlos Carmelo Motta celebrated the First Mass, officially scheduled for May 3 which, according to the liturgical calendar of the time, was the Festivity of the Holy Cross.
The president of the celebration pointed out the three significant hallmarks of the national life: the discovery of the country in 1500, the Proclamation of the Independence in 1822 and the foundation of the new capital. President Kubitschek stressed out that that the first mass sowed a spiritual seed in Brasilia.  
On February 2, 1960, Brasilia was reached by the group of national integration, made up of four columns, coming from Belém (North), Porto Alegre (South), Rio de Janeiro (Southeast) and Cuiabá (West). Coincidently, they formed a cross. In the Christmas prayer formulated to Brasilia, Guilherme de Almeida, the Prince of the Brazilian poets, wrote the following: “ The crossing Time-Space is now and here, a way that comes from the past and goes towards the future – the pathway to the North and South, to the East and West – a pathway that stretches all over the world; now and here where all the ways cross under the sign of the Holy Cross.
The same historic cross of Cabral’s fleet, in front of which Friar Henrique de Coimbra celebrated the First Mass in Brazil in Bahia in the year of 1500, was placed on the altar prepared in the Three Powers Plaza on April 21, 1960, when Cardinal Manuel Cerejeira celebrated the Holy Mass in the inauguration of Brasilia. On that very same day, speaking to the candangos – the people who helped build the city -, president Kubitschek said, “ It was God’s will that put this city up. Having  on my mind the Cross before which the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated, I ask the Creator of all things to keep this country together, that He grants us with this atmosphere of peace, crucial to fruitful work and keep in you – the builders of Brasilia – the same strong spirit that you had to build this great city.”
It is important to remember that in the morning of April 21, 1975, the governor of the Federal District, engineer Elmo Serejo Farias,  donated the Cross used  in the  First Mass officially scheduled to be celebrated in the future capital of the Republic to the Club of the Pioneers of Brasilia to be kept and preserved. The club was then represented by its president Newton Egydio Rossi. The ceremony took place at the very same place of the historic event, being witnessed by His Excellency Monsignor Jose Newton de Almeida Batista, the archbishop of Brasilia. This cross can now be seen at the Cathedral of Brasilia.
Many dedicated missionaries from different religious denominations worked with great zeal and enthusiasm in the beginnings of Brasilia. Among them for sure there is one that stands out – the Salesian priest Roque Valiati Batista. He was born on August 15, 1918, in Inhaúma, the oldest of the communities of Iconha, in the state of Espírito Santo.
As a priest, he served in distant locations such as Bagé (Rio Grande do Sul), Jaciguá (Espírito Santo), Araxá (Minas Gerais), Vitória (Espírito Santo) and Goiânia (Goiás). Father Roque was in charge of Dom Bosco Parish, in the Bandeirante Borough since its beginning. That was the first parish erected in the  territory of the future Archdiocese of Brasilia on July 16, 1957, by His Excellency Monsignor Fernando Gomes de Oliveira, Archbishop of Goiânia. On December 24, 1957, Father Roque celebrated the Christmas Mass in the newly built wooden church.
He was the founder of a school for the workers’ children, being always helpful, sympathetic with people’s suffering , devoted to raise the standards of his flock – all of those made him a very beloved figure. After working relentlessly for the community for 37 years, he died on June 15, 1994. His mortal remains lie in the church he built up.
The past archbishops of Brasilia Cardinal José Freire Falcão and Archbishop João Braz de Aviz celebrated the Holy Mass on this historic site on May 3 (the festivity of the Holy Cross) and on September 12 (President Juscelino Kubitschek’s birthday) repeated times.
Keeping those traditions at the same place – hopefully enhanced by constructions similar to that of May 3, 1957 - will certainly contribute to having the prayer of the founder of Brasilia in that unforgettable event be  reverberated and heard:
“We ask our Almighty God that Brasilia be shaped according to His higher designs and that the Providence makes the human reality a reflex of the Divine City. “


Father José Carlos Brandi Aleixo, Spiritual Counselor Team 12 F
Professor Emeritus of the National University of Brasilia


Translated by Jose Olavo de Amorim
Team 2B


A bit of Brasilia, the seat of the XI International Gathering of TOOL

Brasília Museum (http://www.museuvirtualbrasilia.org.br/)

Metropolitan Cathedral of Brasilia
Brasilia is the capital of the Federative Republic of Brazil, located in the Federal District. Also known as " Capital of Hope, " title given by the French writer Andre Malraux , it was inaugurated on April 21, 1960 by the president Juscelino Kubitschek de Oliveira, is the third capital of Brazil. From this date it began the transfer of the principal organs of the federal administration for the new capital with the change of the Executive, Legislative and Judicial Federal headquarters. In the last census conducted by the IBGE (2007) it showed a population of 2,455,903 inhabitants, and that the federal capital has the highest GDP per capita of Brazil (R $ 22,430.14 ) Followed by Sao Caetano do Sul ( more developed city Brazil) and with 0.934 HDI (R $ 20,050.81 ) per capita GDP . It is located in the Midwest Region . The urban plan of the capital, known as the " Pilot Plan "was made by urban planner Lucio Costa, who also designed the Paranoa Lake , which stores 600 million cubic meters of water. Many of the buildings of the Capital City were designed by renowned architect Oscar Niemeyer.

View from inside the cathedral

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The Place of the Gathering

Nilson Nelson Gymnasium
The Nilson Nelson Gym is located in Brasilia, in a fairly central position, near the Cathedral of Brasilia.

With capacity for 12,000 people, it was inaugurated on April 21, 1973. It received the name of Nilson Nelson Gymnasium in honor of a journalist.

Its structure and comfort pleased the members of the Organizing Committee of the XI International Gathering of the TOOL that decided on its choice to host the event in July 2012 in Brazil.

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