The José Fernandes de Araújo Foundation (FJFA) is the result of the personal project of Cardinal Dom Serafim Fernandes de Araújo, who wanted to help needy students to fulfill their dream of attending higher education. At the time of the creation of the FJFA, Bishop Serafim was rector of the Catholic University of Minas Gerais, currently PUC Minas, a post he held for 21 years. The realization of the Foundation was possible through the donation of all present and future assets of its founder, Bishop Serafim. He gave up not only his assets in favor of the FJFA, but also donated all the salary he received as rector.
The name of the Foundation was chosen by Dom Serafim, who wanted to pay homage to his father, a simple person, a practical dentist in the Jequitinhonha Valley, but who left an example of work and dispossession. Not by chance, the date chosen for the official creation of the FJFA was June 18, his father’s birthday. “I remember when my father died, we had nothing of his. Dad did not even have a check slip he could sign. But he had a family of his own. He left an example that I try to follow. Then it came to my heart: I want to die like my father, poor, with nothing, “he says.
Love for culture and for our neighbor
The official creation of the José Fernandes de Araújo Foundation took place in the office of the rectory of the Catholic University of Minas Gerais. Among those present was the metropolitan archbishop of Belo Horizonte at the time, Dom João Resende Costa. In his speech, he said that the creation of the Foundation was the fusion of two attitudes: love for culture and love for the neighbor. “As a love for culture, the gesture gains meaning in that it will help in the study and formation of people who will be useful to society for their work and technique. And insofar as it will be a concrete help for the brothers, so that they can do something, this gesture means love to the concrete religion that is the love for our neighbor, “said Bishop Joao.
36 years of creation
On June 18, 2016, the Foundation completed 36 years of uninterrupted service. Dom Serafim is thrilled to talk about the trajectory of the FJFA and the fruits harvested during this period. “I am sensitized to the reports of students, all of them unable to pay for a private university and who, without the financial assistance, would be unable to attend a university course,” he says. According to him, the Foundation began simple, like a child who takes his first steps, but with a lot of love and open heart to encourage the needy. ”
In addition to assets donated by its founder, the Foundation has donations from people who believe in the project and are enthusiastic about its social, cultural and Christian goals. Currently, one of FJFA’s main partners is Fundação Dom Cabral.