SAO PAULO, Brazil – At least 1.5 million evangelical Protestants rallied in the heart of this city’s financial district Thursday, demonstrating their growing clout in the world’s largest Roman Catholic country.
Brazil’s 13th “March for Jesus” began Thursday morning as hundreds of thousands of faithful from several evangelical sects walked more than 1 mile from the University of Sao Paulo’s School of Medicine to skyscraper-lined Avenida Paulista.
The number [of] hymn-singing marchers swelled and by the time they reached Avenida Paulista the crowd had grown to 2 million, according to the Reborn in Christ Church that organized the event. Sao Paulo’s police department placed the number at 1.5 million.
The financial district was packed with sound trucks blaring catchy religious tunes and wave after wave of people with colorful T-shirts, banners and headbands proclaiming their love for Jesus Christ.
“The purpose of this march, and of all the other ones we have organized over the years, is to conquer Brazil for Jesus Christ,” said Camila Nascimento, a spokeswoman for the Reborn in Christ Church.
“We came to praise the Lord Jesus,” said Ruben Gouveia as he headed toward the huge elevated stage spanning the avenue where preachers preached and gospel singers sang. “The nation’s soul is sick and can only be saved if all of Brazil discovers Jesus Christ.”
Evangelical churches like Reborn in Christ and the Universal Kingdom of God have grown rapidly in recent decades in this predominantly Roman Catholic country.
Millions of Brazilians have been attracted by the dynamic services of evangelical churches and the promises from some of them that divine intervention will improve lives.
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