Father Ticão, religious and social leader of the Eastern Zone, dies at 68 – Brazil


SAO PAULO – Father Antonio Luiz Marchioni, known as Father Ticão, at 68 years old. Religious and social leadership in eastern São Paulo, he was parish priest of the São Francisco de Assis Parish, in Ermelino Matarazzo, since 1982.

With a strong presence in the housing movements, in recent years he assumed the defense for the medical use of cannabis, attracting criticism from the most conservative arms of the Church and even threats. Of a friend Dom Angelico Sandalo BernardinoBishop emeritus of Blumenau, who served almost the entire priesthood in São Paulo, received the nickname “tractor of God” because of the courage and determination with which he faced their causes.

His death was mourned by the leaders of the PT and Toucan. Demonstrations by politicians such as Mayor Bruno Covas (PSDB) and former mayors Luiza Erundina and Fernando Haddad (PT), among others more aligned with the left, have been registered on social networks since Friday night.

“2021 begins with the sad news of the death of Father Ticão. A great defender of the poorest population of the Eastern Zone of São Paulo. A warrior in the fight to reduce social inequalities. Rest in peace,” published Covas in his Instagram account.

“All (we) regret his sudden departure, without prior notice, which leaves us orphans. The tireless ‘Warrior of God’ departed, who lived his brief existence at the service of the poor of the East, as an ardent and faithful pastor of the Church of the Poor. Go in peace, my brother, “Erundina wrote on Twitter.

He had been hospitalized since Thursday the 31st at the Santa Marcelina Hospital, after presenting symptoms such as shortness of breath and fatigue. According to Waldir Augusti, Professor Waldir, Ticão’s friend and partner, he was tested for covid-19, but the result was negative. Waldir says Ticão had a heart problem, but was fine until then. At the hospital, water was also identified in his lungs.

A statement released by the hospital indicates that “he was admitted to the unit due to cardiac arrhythmia and the diagnosis of pulmonary edema, remaining hospitalized in intensive and cardiac care.” According to the hospital, he died “after further decompensation of the cardiac arrhythmia, followed by cardiopulmonary arrest.”

Born in Urupês (interior of São Paulo), Ticão arrived in the capital in the 1970s, after supporting buoy and teacher strikes in the Araraquara region (SP). In the 1980s, by supporting housing movements that demanded the then governor Franco Montoro to build housing estates, he participated in the invasion of the Secretary of State for Housing.

Professor Waldir says that Ticão has always had a great concern for the poorest, the poorest, working to bring more housing, health and education to the population. “In 2020, in Pastoral da Moradia, we completed 35 thousand houses built. He worked in the construction of the Ermelino Matarazzo Hospital and basic health units. Until the USP Leste came here thanks to his work“, He told the Status.

In the 90s and early 2000s he approached Mario Covas (1930-2001), then governor of the state, who collaborated in this movement that culminated with the arrival of the university in the region in 2005. His successor, Geraldo Alckmin, and his secretary used to honor events held by Ticão, as in 20 years of Pastoral. da Moradia, and the religious returned organizing prayers for the politician when he fell ill.

Alckmin, who was in Pindamonhangaba, said he returned to São Paulo to go to the funeral. “I believe there are some men and women who do not die to die. Father Ticão was one of those. An evangelizer, a man who spoke to the hearts of the people and who won by example and a fighter for the most humble. A Christian par excellence, a man of social justice, he fights for the elderly, for people with disabilities and for the housing of the population of the Eastern Zone, for the School for Youth and Adults, for the health of the region, for free education : Etecs, Fatecs, USP Leste … ”, said Alckmin to the Status.

“No matter what we look at, there is the struggle of Father Ticão. A Franciscan who gave his life to take God’s word and work for the most humble. It is a great loss and we saw at the funeral the impressive affection of the people of the region … It was his great example, “added the former governor, who said he met the religious when he was a deputy from Covas and that he approached him.” He often went to his Mass in the Church of San Francisco de Assis. And my father was a Franciscan, of the Third Order of San Francisco, “he declared.

“Father Ticão was a religious leader, a social leader, a man who lived caring for the most vulnerable. I had the honor of developing many projects with him, especially in the area of ​​education. In a world so lacking in empathy, in love, you are going to get lost ”, stated, also at the wake, Gabriel Chalita, former Secretary of State Education.

Ticão’s impacts in the Eastern Zone were not few. “It signified a change in the way of thinking, it represented support and encouragement to the people, it represented the political-citizen formation, and it represented the true Church of Jesus Christ in the preferential option for the poor. The motto from which he learned always lived in his heart Mr. Paulo Evaristo Arns, which was from courage, from hope to hope. So he taught us, ”said Professor Waldir.

One of its hallmarks in the region was the creation of the School of Citizenship, a space for discussion on social and political issues, in line with the USP School of Government. The sociologist Rudá Ricci, president of the Cultiva Institute, told social media that he met Ticão at that school. “It was a training school for social leaders in eastern São Paulo. I ended up being invited to give a talk at this school. I remember when I arrived, I was greeted by a tall, burly priest with a smile on his face, ”he wrote on Twitter.

“We exchanged a few words and they took us to a huge parish hall, in the basement of the church. There the first impact began: six hundred people were waiting for the start of the activity, on a Friday night, sitting on white chairs, like plastic ones. The debate was loose and very lively. For a popular educator, this is one of the utopias that motivate our commitment: six hundred people discussing Brazil ”.

Cannabis defense

In recent years, he has become involved in advocating for the medical use of cannabis. “Five or six years ago we began to worry about the problems of the SUS. For many years, the focus was more on building basic health units and less on how it should work. There we started a research on preventive, integrative and more natural health and discovered cannabis. We speak with Professor Carlini (Elisaldo carlini, from Unifesp, one of the main defenders of the medicinal use of the substance in Brazil, killed in 2020) and we saw that there were many properties that matched what we were looking for, ”said Waldir.

In an interview in 2019 to the magazine Capital Letter, where the two articles signed, Ticão said: “I’m not going to say that God is a fool, I really don’t know. But he is certainly cannabista ”.

According to Waldir, Ticão began taking courses on the substance in association with Unifesp. The first gathered about 330 people and the fourth, the most recent, had already attracted 4,500 people. “They called him a fag, an advocate of drug use, but he did not give up. And we will continue to follow his banner,” he said.

In 2015, Ticão and Professor Waldir launched the book Dom Paulo Evaristo Cardinal Arns – Pastor of the Peripheries, the Poor and Justice, released in celebration of the Archbishop’s 94th birthday (who died in December 2016). Collection of articles by 55 people and illustrated with 160 photos, the book was published by the Associação Casa da Terceira Idade Teresa Bugolin, with the support of the Official Press of the State Government.

“I would like to repeat the words of Dom Angelico and say that people like him do not die. He will always be an example to follow. We need to keep his ideals alive. We are all children of God, we are all equal, we all have the same rights. We all have to fight against the social inequality that divides the world between rich and poor, “he said. Status Antonio Carlos Fester, advisor to the Justice and Peace Commission, had known Father Ticão for 32 years and also collaborated with the collection on Dom Paulo.

The wake was held this Saturday morning, at the São Francisco de Assis Church, in Ermelino Matarazzo. And the burial took place at 3 pm at the Cemitério do Carmo I, in Itaquera.