São José dos Campos, São Paulo - Sexta, 18 de janeiro de 2019
Life & Religion   

Religious Tourism

Faith boosts tourism in the Paraíba Valley

See how the cities of Aparecida, Guaratinguetá, and Cachoeira Paulista have become three of the most important religious tourism destinations in Brazil


In 1717 three fishermen found the headless statue of  a black saint in the waters of the Paraíba river. They cast their nets again and found the head of the saint. For them, it had been a miracle. That same day they caught a lot of fish.  As the years passed, new miracles were attributed to the statue of the saint. The statue was kept in one of the fishermen’s houses. With each passing year the number of people visiting the region and the house to see the statue grew. All of these facts contributed to the growth of a small village, which later would become the thriving city of Aparecida. Religious trade developed over the years, with new hotels, bars, and restaurants being built. Today the city has 35,000 inhabitants and welcomes 7 million pilgrims a year. The city is about 170 kilometers from São Paulo.


Canção Nova in Cachoeira Paulista

Cachoeira Paulista has almost 30,000 inhabitants and is almost 25 kilometers from Aparecida. This is the home to the famous community Canção Nova. The community, which was founded in 1978 by Father Jonas Abib, spreads the catholic faith around the country. Canção Nova runs events, such as religious shows, youth festivals, and Masses. Canção Nova owns a TV channel and several radio stations. Various religious books, CDs, and products are sold through this community.



1 faith – fé

2 to boost - impulsionar

3 Paraiba Valley – Vale do Paraíba (SP)

4 fisherman - pescador

5 headless – sem cabeça

6 black – negra (o)

7 to cast – arremessar / jogar

8 net - rede

9 pilgrim – romeiro / peregrino

10 to spread – espalhar / divulgar

The Brazilian Saint

Guaratinguetá, the city of Friar Galvão

The city where the first Brazilian saint was born has begun to welcome more and more tourists


  An increasing number of tourists is visiting Guaratinguetá, a city with a population of 110,000 about six kilometers from Aparecida. In 2006 the city welcomed an average of about 50 tourist buses at weekends – now it is 200 buses. Religious tourism will boost the local economy. New hotels and restaurants will be built. The Santo Antônio Cathedral and Friar Galvão Museum are two of the most popular places for tourists. In a small room at the back of the Cathedral the famous Friar Galvão pills are produced. In total about 90,000 pills are produced a month. The pills are also produced in the Mosteiro da Luz, in São Paulo, where about 5,000 units are distributed a day.



A brief biography of the Brazilian Saint

    Friar Galvão was a tall and handsome man. He came from a traditional and rich family, but preferred to turn his back on comfort to become a Franciscan monk. In 1762 he went to live in São Paulo and it was there that he was ordained as a priest. At that time he was famous for performing miracles. One of his great works was the construction of the Mosteiro da Luz.  He got the money for the construction through donations. Friar Antônio de Sant'Anna Galvão was born in Guaratinguetá in 1739 and lived in that city until he was thirteen years old, before living for a while in Bahia. He spent sixty years of his life in São Paulo, where he died on December 23rd 1822. Friar Galvão will be canonized thanks to two miracles attributed to him, which have been recognized by the Vatican. Some researchers, however, believe he performed over 30,000 miracles.



1 increasing – cada vez maior

2 bus – ônibus

3 to boost – impulsionar

4 pill – pílula

5 handsome – bonito / bonitão

6 to turn his back on – exp. idiom. = abrir mão de

7 Franciscan monk – frade franciscano / monge / frei

8 ordained – ordenado

9 priest – padre

10 miracle – milagre

11 living for a while – morar por pouco tempo


Matéria publicada na edição de número 36 da Revista Maganews