Catholic Business and Faith Innovation in Brazil: For 30 Years, Gas Stations with Blessed Sacrament Chapels!

CNA w/ edits—A major gas station chain in Brazil is building chapels for the Blessed Sacrament on the country’s highways as an “oasis” for travelers.

It is normal for travelers to stop at a gas station to fill a vehicle’s gas tank and maybe grab a bite to eat or take some time to rest, but in Brazil you can do more.. you can make a visit to Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. Yes, now there are some gas stations in Brazil that have chapels where travelers may adore the Blessed Sacrament, go to confession and attend Mass.

How this innovative integration of Faith and Business happen?

Speaking with ACI Digital, CNA’s Portuguese-language sister news agency, Janeth Vaz, director of Rede Marajó, a chain of highway service stations in Brazil, said that the chain has built seven chapels at its stations with the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle because “faith is the first value of our company.”

Vaz said that “having the chapel is a privilege, but having the Blessed Sacrament in the chapel is a great blessing.”

“The heart of Marajó is the chapel and we know that the One who is in the chapel is the Blessed Sacrament,” she said.

“Today we have seven chapels, but we want to continue building where there are none … so the Blessed Sacrament can be there,” because it makes “a very big difference,” she said.

Rede Marajó has more than 30 years of experience and describes itself as the “only one” that serves the entire 1,200-mile-long Belém-Brasília Highway, which takes an average of 30 hours’ driving time to cover. In addition, the gas station chain is “the largest Shell distributor” in the country.

Currently, the chain has 19 stations in the states of Pará, Tocantins, Goiás, Mato Grosso, and Minas Gerais.

When Vaz deepened her Catholic Faith, amazing new vistas opened…

Vaz said that she comes from a Catholic family that attended Mass “sporadically” but after participating in a charismatic renewal group, she “fell in love” with the Catholic Church.

She added that today she is a great devotee of the Virgin Mary and that although her husband “resisted” at the beginning, he is now the greatest promoter of the effort to build chapels.

Her husband “said that one day he would build me a church in the backyard, because I went to church a lot. I told him: ‘Yes, you will, but the one who will participate will be more you than me.’ And that’s what happened,” she recalled.

With the blessing of the dioceses: For 30 years

The spouses built the first chapel at the Nova Olinda station in 1992, and the apostolic administrator of the diocese gave them permission to have the Blessed Sacrament.

Every time a new chapel is built, “the first thing we do is go to the parish priest, who asks the bishop for permission to have the Blessed Sacrament,” she said.

Later on, they built other chapels in Aparecida de Goiânia, Goiás state; Belém and Santana do Araguaia, Pará state; Frutal and Centralina, Minas Gerais state; and Várzea Grande in Mato Grosso state.

They all offer Mass every week and, at some of the chapels, a priest meets with the faithful to hear their confessions, give them spiritual advice, and pray with them.

The Rede Marajó company director said that building these chapels over the last 30 years is “a grace” and the work of the Holy Spirit, because although it’s easy to start, persevering in the effort is not so simple.

Her children, who now run the gas station chain, are continuing with the project.

“They, much more than me, want these chapels and for people to pray there. It was something we instilled and it remained in their hearts,” she said.

An oasis for truckers and travelers

Vaz explained that the idea of building chapels came from thinking about truck drivers, who spend a lot of time on the roads, and said that the chapels are dedicated to Our Lady under her different Marian titles.

The businesswoman said that the priests who go to celebrate Mass at the stations give rosaries to the truck drivers and that they receive them “happily,” because “they love the Virgin” and feel her care for them.


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