Arrival in Belo Horizonte

On December 4, 1985 the first eight missionaries arrived in Belo Horizonte from Italy. They took on the pastoral care of the parish of São Sebastião in the Betânia district. 

1986 – 1987
Assistance and Care of Children

The conditions of poverty faced by the children of certain neighborhoods pushed the missionaries to take action. EQUIPAM (a team for the pastoral care of minors) was born, gathering people to the community who started to visit families in need and to take care of children in community and parish structures. 

A Center for Childcare

The municipality provided land where the community could build a center for children called the Centro de Acolhida Betânia, CAB (in English: The Betânia Reception Center).  The coming together of persons from the neighborhood to contribute to this important project was significant. 

For Youth

I Festiarte (Festival de Artes da Região of Belo Horizonte) was held throughout the city with the aim of promoting music, theater, dance, poetry and drawing workshops.  The positive results led the missionaries to create a specific space where young people could express and cultivate their artistic and cultural skills and interests. 

The Pastoral Plan

The Pastoral Plan NIP - New Image of Parish was launched. The missionaries, together with some lay people close to the community, visited all the families of the area. The territory entrusted to the community was gradually organized into sectors and then into Ecclesial Groups, composed of neighboring families who used to meet periodically. 

Inauguration of the Centro de Acolhida Betânia

On December 8th, CAB was finally inaugurated - a center large enough to welcome 300 children and adolescents, and equipped to accompany their families. The inauguration of the center was a great achievement for the entire neighborhood. The main objectives of the CAB were immediately identified: providing attention and care to children, adolescents and their families;, and the organization of professional courses. 

New Challenges

The COMIDI Diocesan Missionary Center was founded in 1990 and entrusted to the management of the community.  By this a new form of missionary commitment was identified: to offer young people and adults paths of human and Christian formation. Thus different groups were born, such as the GIMVI Missionary Groups, the Faith and Politics group, and the Homeless group. These paths have been conceived with the aim of informing and training new leaders on social and political issues. Some participants also matured the choice of missionary life. 

For Adolescents

Reflecting on the lack of prospects and opportunities for the future of adolescents at an academic and professional level, a new journey began which led to the foundation of the CCEB - Betânia Cultural Sports Center in 1998. 

Cursinho Providência

To help young people coming from the weakest social conditions to pass the university entrance exam, the course Cursinho Providência was born in partnership with a social project of the Federal University of Minas Gerais, with the aim of preparing over 3,000 young people. 

Courses For Adults

Adult literacy courses began, as well as English, IT and crafts courses. The following year, courses in music, theater, dance and literature were started. Even a library was created. 

Walking With Other Ecclesial Realities

The Community started to participate in meetings gathering all the movements and new communities which were present in the diocese. Since 2004 this gathering was proof of a stable diocesan reality. The CAMENC - Archdiocesan Council of Associations, Movements and New Communities was born, in which also the Community has participated with roles of responsibility. 

Escola da Fé

A two-year course was launched for adults which included various topics related to faith and Christian formation (Bible, liturgy, morals, psychology…).  At the end of the two years, the students celebrate by receiving a certificate of participation. 

Lay Evangelization

For the first time the experiences of the Jeshuà and Emmaus weekends were proposed, involving a large number of young people and adults, and promoting the evangelizing protagonism of lay people. In 2006 the Cana experience for couples began. 

The Parish Synod

The parish synod gathered all the groups involved in parish activities for a week of collaboration, liturgy, small-group workshops, and more. 

The Jubilee of the Community

The 25th anniversary of the foundation of the Community was celebrated. On that occasion Cardinal Rylko, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, visited the Community. 

A New Pastoral Plan

The first Cristofest was organized, which also marked an important step of the pastoral journey for the Community: the conclusion of the previous pastoral plan and the beginning of the new Community Parish project. The previously named ecclesial groups became PCE - Small Evangelizing Communities. 

The Youth Orchestra

The Orquestra jovem sinfonia de Betânia was created with the purpose of introducing teenagers and young people aged 10 to 18 to the world of classical music. 

A New Civil Association

The association ASV - Social Action Villaregia was established to further the development the human promotion activities of the Community in the area. 

United For The Emergency

First the floods in January 2020, then the COVID-19 pandemic, mobilized the Community to respond to the needs of the most  affected people. 


Tel: 0055/31/33831545 – e-mail: info.bh@villaregia.org  

Centro de Acolhida Betânia
Cipriano de Carvalho, 574 Cinquentenário
30570-020, BH – MG