Devotion to Saint Rita in Belém, cultural and immaterial heritage

The Municipality of Belém do Para (Brazil) has approved a bill that declares the procession of the Augustinian saint as a cultural and intangible heritage.

Every 22nd of May, history repeats itself. Thousands of people take to the streets to witness the multitudinous procession of Santa Rita that, on the day of its festivity, goes through the streets of Queluz, in Belém do Pará. Known as the ‘procissão das rosas’ (procession of roses), the Brazilians of this city put before the Augustinian saint all their life and their purposes, as patroness of the impossible causes that it is.

The city council of Belém has recognized the importance of this procession for the social, cultural and Catholic life of the city of Brazil. The procession of Saint Rita has been declared cultural and immaterial heritage of Belém. This was done after the approval of the bill presented by Councillor Toré Lima.

There are many reasons for this declaration. The first is that devotion to Saint Rita unites the inhabitants of the neighborhoods of São Brás, Terra Firme, Canudos and Guamá in a single procession in Belém. The second, “the enormous difficulties that some people must overcome” to attend the procession annually, according to the councilman. In short, “the saint of impossible causes manages to gather thousands of faithful in the parish of Queluz.

Every year the same ritual takes place: the inhabitants of Belém accompany Saint Rita from her departure to her entrance in the Church of San José de Queluz. The devotion was brought and preserved by the Augustinian Recollects, who have entrusted the pastoral work in the parish. It is the Augustinian Recollects who sustain the devotion and who organize every year the procession of the saint that is already cultural and immaterial patrimony of Belém do Pará.

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