BRAZIL, December 19, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) – While there was no place in the Inn for the baby Jesus, a Catholic Brazilian man believes God has called him to make a place in his home, a place he calls the Community of Baby Jesus, for the 42 disabled children he has adopted, many of whom survived failed abortions.
Comunidade Jesús Menino (Community of Baby Jesus) is nestled about an hour and a half north of Rio di Janeiro. There, Tônio Tavares cares for his adopted children, who have a range of disabilities such as autism and cerebral palsy. The community was featured in the HUMAN Life movie.
“This is the message of the Catholic Community of the Child Jesus: it is to embrace life, to acknowledge life, to respect life throughout its development: from conception until natural death,” Tavares told LifeSiteNews in an exclusive interview. “Life, at the present time, must continue to be defended: always, always, always.”
Tavares explained that his community has suffered from the coronavirus outbreak in the loss of one his adopted sons. Not being able to be with him as he died “one of the strongest griefs I have had as a father.”
“The coronavirus crisis has brought pain to the whole world, and not only financial pain, but also physical and psychological pain, and religious pain because people could not go to religious services or Mass,” Tavares said.
Tavares explained that his community was “under lockdown” since March 12.
“Some of the sons of the community were affected by the coronavirus, one even died, but he was in isolation and we never were able to have contact with him. This is one of the strongest griefs I have had as a father. The great fear of the community was not to be able to say goodbye to Rodrigo,” he said. “It was indeed impossible to visit him because he was completely isolated. His burial only took 20 minutes and we could not be there either.”
“The pain of not being close to a person when he gives up his soul is very great.”
The coronavirus outbreak has hurt the Baby Jesus community financially, too. With many businesses being forced to close down, not only in Brazil but all around the world, “the people who used to give to us are in bad shape.”
“People have had to close down their business, others were laid off from their jobs. All this has caused and is still causing a great deal of harm to charitable works that [exist] thanks to the mercy of others.”
Tavares relies on “the providence of God” to obtain donations that pay for his children’s expensive medical care as well as their day-to-day needs like milk and food.
The Baby Jesus community is a witness to the value and inherent dignity of every human being in a world that increasingly sees disabled children as disposable or unwanted – and on a continent that is facing a push to radicalize its abortion laws. The lower house of Argentina’s Congress voted to legalize abortion in the fourteenth week of pregnancy December 11, and this year pro-abortion campaigners used the tragic case of a 10-year-old rape victim to argue Brazil should change its laws.
One of Tavares’s children is a nine-year-old named Jean “who is completely anencephalous.” A prenatal anencephaly diagnosis is one of the few reasons abortion is legally permitted in Brazil.
“For you and for all defenders of life if all over the world he is the great answer of God,” said Tavares. “It is impossible in our eyes that a child who has undergone various forms of violence in order to avoid his birth, who was attacked in the womb of his mother for not being normal, should have managed to see the light.”
“People cannot understand this miracle. The miracle is indisputable. He has grown and he is alive. In the middle of all our needs and everything we ask, we know that we have in our midst a living miracle that we can see with our own eyes. This is what life is worth. This is what I want to tell LifeSite readers: this is what your prayer is worth, this is what your faith is worth, and with us you can continue to defend life. Jean is the symbol of life. Thank you, every one of you. May we continue in unity in order to build this bridge to take us to Heaven that gives us life.”
Through LifeSite’s brand-new platform LifeFunder, readers this Christmas can contribute directly to the Comunidade Jesús Menino and help Tavares in providing a place for those the world considers to be among the least. LifeSiteNews created LifeFunder to serve the pro-life, pro-family, and Christian communities and facilitate grassroots fundraisers for individuals, organizations, and communities on a global scale.
Pete Baklinski and Dorothy Cummings McLean contributed to this report.
Translation by LifeSite’s Jeanne Smits.