Flávio Jose Rocha

Year Joined MKLM: 2003
Country: Brazil
City: João Pessoa
Focus: Justice and integrity of creation, holistic health
Project(s): Theater of the oppressed, alternative health (reiki and acupuncture), water privatization research
People Served: Communities of Mutirão and Tibiri and NGO staff and academics interested in water conflicts

Project Goal(s):
Alternative Health: Mutirão and Tibiri communities – Provide access to ear acupuncture, reiki and chromo therapy

Migrant Pastoral Service: The Migrant Pastoral Service has a project with youth in the Mutirão community. Its agents visit schools and facilitate different workshops focusing on peace and justice such as restorative justice. Flavio facilitates theater of the oppressed workshops in these schools as a way to help young people deal with violence in the community.

Water Privatization Research – Publish and post news and articles on a Facebook page and in different magazines on this topic.

Current Ministry:

Flávio’s primary ministry is in the Migrant Pastoral Service, where he works with theater of the oppressed in the Mutirão community. This popular education technique uses theater to provide participants the opportunity to talk about daily external and internal oppressions. It fosters non-violent options to address social problems. Theater of the oppressed is a tool to work with impoverished communities lacking access to basic rights. The Migrant Pastoral Service is a church sector that helps migrant. In the Mutirão community, it works specifically with young migrant people in a project focusing on dealing with violence. Flavio also assists the project with the organization of a regional gathering that will be held in August in João Pessoa for about 250 young people to reflect on youth and violence.

In his alternative health ministry, Flavio ministers at the Associação Garden of Hope in the Mutirão community. He also does acupuncture, chromo therapy and reiki in the community of Tibiri.

Flávio researches, writes and publishes articles on water privatization in Brazil and maintains a page on Facebook about this topic.

Personal Data:

Flávio is a Brazilian native from Duas Estradas, Paraíba. He was introduced to the Maryknoll community through a friend in João Pessoa in 1998 and became impressed with their commitment to the poor and marginalized. Prior to becoming a Maryknoll lay missioner, Flavio was a government education secretary in Duas Estradas and involved in campus ministry. He and his wife, Kathy Bond, met in Brazil when they worked together in a social justice project. After they married, the couple moved to Berkeley, California, and were active in the Holy Spirit Newman Community. They later relocated to João Pessoa, Brazil, and their daughter, Maya, was born there in 2005. In 2010, they were transferred with Maryknoll Lay Missioners to São Paulo, and in the end of 2018 they were transferred back to João Pessoa.

Flavio has a master’s degree in creation spirituality through Naropa University, a master in environment and development through the Federal University of Paraíba, a doctorate in social sciences through the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo and post-doctorate from the University of São Paulo.

Flavio was inspired to do mission by the Franciscan Sisters, who lived in his hometown when he was a child and by the example of people like Dom Helder Câmara. Liberation theology and creation spirituality have been sources of inspiration on his journey. He worked with immigrants in São Paulo, mostly Bolivians and Peruvians, in an NGO that works to prevent modern slavery. In São Paulo he also visited organ transplant patients in a public hospital twice a week. While in São Paulo, Flavio was trained to do reiki, ear acupuncture and chromo therapy, and for four years he ministered in a holistic cCenter run by the Catechist Franciscan Sisters in the periphery of the city offering these therapies to the community of Jardim Capela.

Now back in João Pessoa, Flávio works in the communities of Mutirão and Tibiri facilitating theater of the oppressed and offering holistic therapies in these communities. He also does research on water privatization in Brazil, which led him to write and publish articles in different magazines about this issue, one of the topics of Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’.