It Seems as If It Was Just Yesterday . . .

Source: Jornal de Brasília, June 28, 2011. | Updated in December 2020.
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Alziro Zarur 

I am celebrating yet another year of work at the Legion of Good Will (LGW). The sun was rising on June 29, 1956—St. Peter and St. Paul Day. I was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At 15, as if by intuition, I turned on the radio, and Tamoio Radio was on air. We were celebrating Brazil’s June festivities. I was surprised, therefore, to hear the chords of Silent Night by Joseph Mohr (1792-1848) and Franz Grüber (1787-1863) at a time when Christmas was still a long way away. And then the words of Alziro Zarur (1914-1979), the late founder of the LGW, resonated. That changed my life, just like it changed the life of so many others who were waiting to hear something they needed about the One whom, in John the Baptist’s words, we are not even worthy to “untie the straps of His sandals”: Jesus! Zarur was saying: “Glory to God in the Highest, and Peace on Earth to people of Good Will!” (The Gospel according to Luke 2:14). At that moment, it was as if I was struck by lightning, but it did not knock me down. On the contrary: I realized that I am not just a product of the flesh, as a certain mentality out there makes some people think that this world is a butcher shop. I have a Spirit. It is not the result of chemical combinations of the brain, for intelligence is located beyond the body, as if there were a psychic mind outside the somatic brain. . . . From that moment on, what was awakened in me could not have come from a piece of matter that will someday be transformed into a frenzy of starving worms. No! We are something far superior that tunes the stars! Therefore, it is crucial that we have a diapason inside us that resounds to the greatness of this melody. . . . Right then, I turned to my late mother, Idalina Cecília de Paiva (1913-1994), and I said decisively: “He’s the one I am going to follow!”

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In all these years of legionnaire life, I have learned that nobody does anything alone. On the occasion of my 66th anniversary at this Organization, which works uninterruptedly for a better world and a happier humanity, I also share this date with all those who, with their prayers and support for our initiatives, are part of the great family of God’s Goodwill.

José de Paiva Netto is a writer, journalist, radio broadcaster, composer, and poet. He is the President of the Legion of Good Will (LGW), effective member of the Brazilian Press Association (ABI) and of the Brazilian International Press Association (ABI-Inter). Affiliated to the National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ), the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), the Union of Professional Journalists of the State of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Writers of Rio de Janeiro, the Union of Radio Broadcasters of Rio de Janeiro, and the Brazilian Union of Composers (UBC). He is also a member of the Academy of Letters of Central Brazil. He is an author of international reference in the concept and defense of the cause of Ecumenical Citizenship and Spirituality which, according to him, constitute “the cradle of the most generous values that are born of the Soul, the dwelling of the emotions and of the reasoning enlightened by intuition, the atmosphere that embraces everything that transcends the ordinary field of matter and comes from the elevated human sensitivity, such as Truth, Justice, Mercy, Ethics, Honesty, Generosity, and Fraternal Love.”