Thirty years ago, Antonio Carlos Tavares de Mello prayed to God, asking why so many disabled children who had survived abortions had no one to care for them. God’s response recalls de Mello: Offer your life to serve and be with them.
After a time of discernment, de Mello consulted his local bishop and began the process of establishing an organization to care for abortion service. Starting out with initially just three children he adopted, his organization, called the Catholic Community of Jesus Menino (Child Jesus), now has three homes — two in Brazil and one in Portugal — and cares for more than 100 disabled children and adults.
Born one of four children born in 1960 to devout Catholic parents in Petropolis, Brazil, De Mello describes his childhood as ordinary and simple. He enjoyed volunteering with other youth at the parish as a teenager and said he always felt compelled to do more.
Initially, he considered vocational ministry through the priesthood but felt God was calling him to something else. As a young adult he continued to work with local youth in confirmation and other parish activities before opening his homes.
Despite abortion being illegal in Brazil, Brazilian pregnant mothers still try to abort their children, often for economic reasons, through various means such as lethal drugs. When these children survive these unsuccessful abortion attempts that oftentimes have disabilities and that is where the Jesus Menino Community steps in providing support and a safe environment.
Brazilian Ambassador to the United States, Nestor Forster Jr. said of de Mello and his homes in 2019 that most of the people it cares for are “victims of abortion, of abortions that went wrong, botched abortions.” Further, he called de Mello’s work an “embassy of Heaven on Earth.” You can learn more about De Mello’s story by checking out the recently released documentary film called Human Life by Gustavo Brinholi.
Source: National Catholic Register