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José Rodrigues dos Passos

Photo courtesy of Brazilian White Center - UNASP.

 

Passos, José Rodrigues dos (1902–1987)

By The Brazilian White Center – UNASP

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The Brazilian White Center – UNASP is a team of teachers and students at the Brazilian Ellen G. White Research Center – UNASP at the Brazilian Adventist University, Campus Engenheiro, Coelho, SP. The team was supervised by Drs. Adolfo Semo Suárez, Renato Stencel, and Carlos Flávio Teixeira. Bruno Sales Gomes Ferreira provided technical support. The following names are of team members: Adriane Ferrari Silva, Álan Gracioto Alexandre, Allen Jair Urcia Santa Cruz, Camila Chede Amaral Lucena, Camilla Rodrigues Seixas, Daniel Fernandes Teodoro, Danillo Alfredo Rios Junior, Danilo Fauster de Souza, Débora Arana Mayer, Elvis Eli Martins Filho, Felipe Cardoso do Nascimento, Fernanda Nascimento Oliveira, Gabriel Pilon Galvani, Giovana de Castro Vaz, Guilherme Cardoso Ricardo Martins, Gustavo Costa Vieira Novaes, Ingrid Sthéfane Santos Andrade, Isabela Pimenta Gravina, Ivo Ribeiro de Carvalho, Jhoseyr Davison Voos dos Santos, João Lucas Moraes Pereira, Kalline Meira Rocha Santos, Larissa Menegazzo Nunes, Letícia Miola Figueiredo, Luan Alves Cota Mól, Lucas Almeida dos Santos, Lucas Arteaga Aquino, Lucas Dias de Melo, Matheus Brabo Peres, Mayla Magaieski Graepp, Milena Guimarães Silva, Natália Padilha Corrêa, Rafaela Lima Gouvêa, Rogel Maio Nogueira Tavares Filho, Ryan Matheus do Ouro Medeiros, Samara Souza Santos, Sergio Henrique Micael Santos, Suelen Alves de Almeida, Talita Paim Veloso de Castro, Thais Cristina Benedetti, Thaís Caroline de Almeida Lima, Vanessa Stehling Belgd, Victor Alves Pereira, Vinicios Fernandes Alencar, Vinícius Pereira Nascimento, Vitória Regina Boita da Silva, William Edward Timm, Julio Cesar Ribeiro, Ellen Deó Bortolotte, Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, Giovana Souto Pereira, Victor Hugo Vaz Storch, and Dinely Luana Pereira.

 

 

First Published: November 21, 2021 | Last Updated: April 13, 2022

José Rodrigues dos Passos was a pastor, evangelist, administrator, and teacher in Brazil.

Early Years

José Rodrigues dos Passos was born January 9, 1902, in the city of Santo Antônio da Patrulha, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. The son of José Rodrigues dos Passos and Maria Emília dos Passos,1 he had four siblings—Jovina, Ernestina, Zilda, and João.2

José was born on the Passos farm, located on the banks of the Rolante River, which was the property of his paternal grandfather. His father died when he was three years old and for that reason the family lived for a time with his mother’s relatives. First, they went to live in the house of their maternal grandparents—Rodrigo Amador dos Reis and Ludovina, better known as Grandma Dindinha. On that occasion they had the opportunity to also live with their Uncle José Amador dos Reis, who still lived with his parents. In the future he would become the first ordained Adventist pastor in Brazil. With him, little José Rodrigues learned how to build bird traps and help grind sugarcane to make sugar, molasses, and rapadura (a Brazilian sweet made with brown sugar).3

Later the family lived with Uncles Doca and Adolfo Amador dos Reis, who was considered by José Rodrigues as a second father. In all, there were 11 children in the house—he, four siblings, and six cousins—who together formed a large family. Eventually his mother was able to build a house, which was close to the house of Uncles Adolfo and Doca.4

Conversion to Adventist Faith, Education, and Marriage

In 1904 the first Adventist missionaries arrived in the city of Taquara—Pastors Huldreich F. Graf and Ernest Schwantes. They were informed that in Santo Antônio da Patrulha there were people interested in discovering biblical truth, so Graf stayed in Taquara and Schwantes headed to Campestre, district of Santo Antônio da Patrulha, and, later, to Rolante. That is how the entire family of Rodrigo Amador dos Reis, totaling approximately 30 people, accepted the Adventist message.5

The first baptism in the Campestre region was held in 1904 in Rio dos Sinos. Among the baptized were Maria José Mendes, her children Saturnino Mendes de Oliveira and Roberto Mendes de Oliveira, as well as the mother of José Rodrigues. Shortly thereafter, his father and almost all of the members of the Rodrigo and Irineu Amador dos Reis’ families were also baptized in Rio Rolante, forming the group that started the Rolante Adventist Church.6

At the time José Rodrigues was only two years old. However, the zeal of this newly converted family meant that he, too, was carefully raised in the ways of the Lord. In addition, the contact with nature and the agricultural work performed since he was 11 years old shaped the life of this future pastor.7 He began his studies in a school organized at his own house; the teacher was Roberto Mendes de Oliveira, his mother’s cousin. In 1913 the Rolante Adventist School was founded and it was there that José obtained his primary and secondary education.8 Both the church and the school were built on land donated by his grandfather, Rodrigo Amador dos Reis.9

José Rodrigues had wanted to become a pastor beginning when he was ten years old, a feeling that was strengthened whenever he watched his uncle José dos Reis preach. He wanted to follow in his footsteps.10 But how could he leave his widowed mother to go study theology, he being the eldest son? Then, at the age of 15, he was severely stricken with pneumonia and doctors gave him no chance to live. His mother prayed fervently to the Lord that if he were healed, she would consecrate him entirely to His work. By the grace of God, he was healed, and soon his mother began saving up in order to get the necessary funds to send him to the seminary.11 Following his illness in 1917, he was baptized by Pastor Henrique Mayer in the city of Rolante, Rio Grande do Sul.12

Through the sale of animals and agricultural products, José managed to raise the necessary stipend for the first year of study (800 mil-réis).13 Thus, he left Porto Alegre bound for Brazil Adventist College in São Paulo (now Unasp-SP), accompanied by his colleagues Domingos Peixoto da Silva and Júlio Miñán.14 In January 1920 he began the theology course.15 However, due to lack of resources, in 1921 and 1922 he had to interrupt his studies to fully devote himself to canvassing.16 He returned to Brazil Adventist College in 1923, continuing to canvass during his vacations.17 In 1926 he canvassed in Rio de Janeiro, where he had the opportunity to sell the book Conflict of the Ages, by Ellen G. White, to the future president, Getúlio Vargas. Vargas was so fond of the story of the Reformers that he later named his firstborn son Luther.18

In the last years of the theology program, he met Adelina Benincassa (1904-1997), who at the time had been called to teach Portuguese at Brazil Adventist College. They were married on December 29, 1926, at the Adventist Church of São Carlos, state of São Paulo, in a ceremony officiated by Pastor José Amador dos Reis. They had five children: Paulo, Esther, Daniel, Ruth, and Helena. Adelina was born in São Carlos in 1904 and graduated with a degree in nursing from the Faculty of Medicine of Bahia. She served as a nurse and teacher in Adventist schools her entire life.19

Ministry

José dos Passos graduated with a degree in theology in March 192720 and began denominational work on April 1 of the same year. His first evangelistic work took place in Pindaúva, in the Vale do Ribeira region, state of São Paulo. As a result, the first local Adventist group was organized, with the baptism of 11 people by Pastor Alberto Hagen. Years later this group formed a church in the city of Jacupiranga.21 After five months Passos was called to work in Curitiba, state of Paraná, where he helped Pastor Alberto Hagen at the Central Adventist Church. From Curitiba he was transferred to Paranaguá, also in Paraná, where he worked for three months, helping a group of believers until March 1928.22

In April he accepted a call to be an evangelist at the Rio-Minas Gerais Mission, where he held a series of meetings in Olaria, Rio de Janeiro. The series had been started by a young preacher who was spreading teachings other than the Adventist faith in order to found his own church. By the grace of God, the situation was reversed and an Adventist church was built. Passos then assisted in the evangelistic programs of Pastors Ricardo Wilfart, in Madureira, and Henrique Stoehr, in Niterói.23

Later he became pastor and evangelist of the Juiz de Fora Adventist Church, state of Minas Gerais, where he remained from April 1929 to February 1930. He then worked as an evangelist in the state capital, Belo Horizonte, which at the time had no Adventist church. Soon, a house for the family and a room for evangelistic meetings was rented in the Barro Preto neighborhood.24

On October 3, 1930, the revolution broke out that put President Getúlio Vargas in office. The Passos family’s house was right in the crossfire of the 12th Infantry Regiment and the forces of the military police. Bullets from rifles and machine guns began to pass through the roof and fall into their residence. Realizing the danger, they decided to flee to Vila Concórdia; but for that they had to go out into the street and run the risk of being hit by one of the bullets which hissed past their heads. Through divine providence and prayers of the members, the Passos couple and their three children arrived safely, one child being a baby that would not be born for another two months.25

During his stay in Belo Horizonte, Pastor Passos held meetings in the neighborhoods of Barro Preto and Carlos Pratas, in addition to helping Pastor Luiz Braun in a series of meetings held downtown in the city. As a result of their efforts, the first church in Belo Horizonte was founded in Vila Concórdia. José dos Passos was ordained to the ministry on January 9, 1932, in Rio de Janeiro.26

In May 1932 he accepted a call to serve in the Northeast Mission as the only pastor and evangelist in the states of Bahia and Sergipe, under the leadership of Pastor Gustavo Storch. When he arrived there was no Adventist church building in the city of Salvador, only a group of believers who met in a rented hall in Itapagipe. There he held public meetings and assisted Pastor Storch in evangelistic meetings held in downtown Salvador. As a result, the first Adventist church in central Salvador was organized and built.27

At the end of 1933 the Passos family experienced a very difficult time. The children were all stricken with measles, chicken pox, and mumps at the same time. Meanwhile, the father became seriously ill with malaria and typhus and had to be hospitalized. His colleague, Pastor Teófilo Berger, was going through the same situation. Pastor Passos’ health condition was so serious that doctors asked his wife to bring a shroud to the hospital to dress him for his funeral. As a result, Pastor Cecil Schneider was invited to pray for him and anoint him, as recommended in James 5. The church was also invited to pray and fast for his recovery. At the time of the anointing, Passos was in a coma, but as the words “and the prayer of faith shall save him that is sick” were uttered (James 5:13-15), he woke up and immediately felt that he was getting better. Before long, he was home.28

In 1934 Passos promoted a series of meetings in the cities of Aracajú and Lagarto, in the state of Sergipe.29 From Bahia, he was called to pastor the three existing churches in the city of Recife, state of Pernambuco, where he served from February 1936 to October 1937.30 The following month he was transferred to João Pessoa, state of Paraíba, where he successfully carried out evangelistic programs and organized the city’s first Adventist church, with 100 members.31 In addition, he held meetings in a Presbyterian church in a village in the countryside of Paraíba, whose members almost all became Adventists.32

In August 1938 he was appointed director of the education and youth departments of the Rio Grande do Sul Conference.33 He was then elected president of the Mato Grosso Mission, where he served from June 1941 to March 1944. The challenge was great, as there were only two workers in the entire field—Pastors Alfredo Barbosa and Alfredo Meier. For this reason, he held many other roles as leader of the missionary work, education, and youth departments, while the treasurer was also responsible for the Sabbath School and canvassing departments.34

During this period the world was being shaken by World War II. Brazil’s support for the Allies led the country to carry out strong persecution against German and Japanese civilians. Because the Brazilian Adventist Church at the time had several German workers and members, it was placed under suspicion in various parts of the country. One of the states where the Church suffered the most severe persecution was Mato Grosso. Two young Adventists were arrested for not working on Saturdays in military service, and another young man was apprehended simply for being of German origin and publicly lamenting that Brazil had entered the war. The camp treasurer, Edwino Langstrassem, who was a German, was also arrested, and all documents in the mission vault, as well as the church and baptistry, were searched for an alleged radio transmitter—which was not found. Even Pastor Passos, despite not having German or Japanese ancestry, was put in jail. Fortunately, out of friendship with the then commander of the military region, they were released a few days later.35

From April 1944 to July 195036 Passos was president of the Paraná-Santa Catarina Conference, where he participated in the transfer of Paraná-Santa Catarina Academy (now Paraná Adventist Academy) from the city of Butiá to Curitiba, in the Pinheirinho neighborhood.37 The new land was purchased for 200,000 Cruzeiros and, in the beginning of 1948, classes began at the new location under the direction of Pastor Romeu Ritter dos Reis.38

Next Passos was appointed as district pastor of the São Paulo Conference, where he served the Brás (1950) and Central (January 1951 to April 1952) churches.39 During this period, he directed an evangelistic radio program broadcast on Sundays by Rádio Tupi.40

In April 1952 he was called to be a Bible teacher at the Taquara Academy (now Cruzeiro do Sul Adventist Academy). During this period missionary work with the students was emphasized, and on Sabbath a large number of them gave Bible studies and distributed literature in the surrounding area. Several students became Adventists through baptismal classes. Through this work a group of believers was formed in the city of Gravataí, which later became a church.41 Passos taught there until he was named president of the Rio Grande do Sul Conference in February 1954. During his tenure the field experienced remarkable growth, with the promotion of 19 evangelistic conferences, the baptism of 1,719 people, the establishment of 12 churches, and considerable progress in the construction of Taquara Academy.42

Later Years and Contribution

Pastor José dos Passos retired in early 1958 at the Rio Grande do Sul Conference.43 During his retirement he served as an elder at the Central Church of Curitiba, for which he was honored in 1979 for his 80 years of life and 50 years as an ordained pastor. Passos died on January 31, 1987, in Curitiba, due to a heart attack. The funeral ceremony was held in the Central Church by Pastor Enoch de Oliveira, and the burial took place in the Jardim da Saudade Cemetery.44

José Rodrigues dos Passos made significant contributions to the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Brazil, where he served for 31 years as a pastor, evangelist, administrator, and teacher. He worked in ten states of Brazil, standing out for his evangelistic work and for the services rendered to the administration of the fields.

Sources

“Falecimentos.” Revista Adventista, year 83, no. 3, March 1987.

“Falecimentos.” Revista Adventista, year 93, no. 6, June 1997.

Moreira, Ubiratan Santos. “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos.” Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988.

Passos, José R. dos. Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012).

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, various years.

Schmidt, Ivan. “Casal Passos Comemora Bodas de Ouro.” Revista Adventista, year 72, no. 2, February 1977.

Wichert, Helena Passos. “A Coragem de uma Pioneira.” Revista Adventista, year 72, no. 3, March 1977.

Notes

  1. “Falecimentos,” Revista Adventista, year 83, no. 3, March 1987, 27; Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 2-3.

  2. Helena Wichert, WhatsApp message to Maria Júlia dos Santos Galvani, September 14, 2021.

  3. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 1-3.

  4. Ibid., 1-3.

  5. Ibid., 6-8.

  6. Ibid.

  7. Ibid.

  8. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 5; José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 10-11.

  9. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 8.

  10. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 6.

  11. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 12.

  12. “Falecimentos,” Revista Adventista, March 1987.

  13. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 13.

  14. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 7.

  15. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 13.

  16. Ibid., 15.

  17. Ibid., 18.

  18. Ibid., 20.

  19. Falecimentos,” Revista Adventista, year 93, no. 6, June 1997, 28; “Falecimentos,” Revista Adventista, year 83, no. 3, March 1987, 27; Ivan Schmidt, “Casal Passos Comemora Bodas de Ouro,” Revista Adventista, year 72, no. 2, February 1977, 27-28; Helena Passos Wichert, “A Coragem de uma Pioneira,” Revista Adventista, year 72, no. 3, March 1977, 37; Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 11.

  20. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 7; José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 22.

  21. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 26-27.

  22. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 13-15; “Santa Catharina-Parana Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1928), 202; José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 29.

  23. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 31-32.

  24. Ibid., 33.

  25. Ibid., 34-35.

  26. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 15-18; “Rio de Janeiro Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1929), 205.

  27. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 46-48.

  28. Ibid., 49-51.

  29. Ibid., 47-48.

  30. Ibid., 53.

  31. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 18-20; “North East Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1933), 165; José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 58.

  32. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 55.

  33. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 20; “Rio Grande do Sul Conference,” “Taquara Academy,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1941), 192.

  34. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 61-62.

  35. Ibid., 68-70.

  36. Ibid., 72.

  37. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 22-23; “Parana-Santa Catarina Conference,” “Brazil College,” “Brazil Publishing House,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950), 168; Brazil College,” “Brazil Publishing House,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1950), 323.

  38. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 76, 79.

  39. Ibid., 82.

  40. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 29-24; “São Paulo Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1951), 180.

  41. José R. dos Passos, Memórias de um Pioneiro (unpublished, August 31, 2012), 86.

  42. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 24-25; “Rio Grande do Sul Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 157; Taquara Academy,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 244; “Brazil Publishing House,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 282.

  43. Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 28.

  44. “Falecimentos,” Revista Adventista, year 83, no. 3, March 1987, 27; Ivan Schmidt, “Casal Passos Comemora Bodas de Ouro,” Revista Adventista, year 72, no. 2, February 1977, 27-28; Ubiratan Santos Moreira, “Vida e Ministério do Pastor José Rodrigues dos Passos” (Monography, Brazil Adventist College, 1988), 31.

×

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Passos, José Rodrigues dos (1902–1987)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 13, 2022. Accessed June 18, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8IF4.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center –. "Passos, José Rodrigues dos (1902–1987)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 13, 2022. Date of access June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8IF4.

UNASP, The Brazilian White Center – (2022, April 13). Passos, José Rodrigues dos (1902–1987). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved June 18, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=8IF4.