You’d “be better off” as “entrepreneur”: Angolan Bishop to Aspirants to Priestly, Religious Life Keen on Families’ Gaps

Bishop Belmiro Cuica Chissengueti of Angola’s Cabinda Diocese. Credit: Radio Ecclesia

The Clergy and women and men Religious have the vocation to prioritize service towards the people of God under their pastoral care, Bishop Belmiro Cuica Chissengueti of the Catholic Diocese of Cabinda in Angola has said. 

In his homily on the annual World Day of Prayer for Vocations 2024 marked on the Fourth Sunday of Easter, Bishop Chissengueti cautioned aspirants to Priestly and Religious Life against obsession with their respective families, including the financial gaps in their nuclear families.

“Anyone who thinks that being a Priest or a Religious will solve their family's problems would be better off becoming an entrepreneur because vocation is not a profession,” he said during the April 21 Holy Mass at Our Lady Queen of the World Cathedral of his Episcopal See. 

Those who think that joining the Priesthood and Religious Life will make them “financially fulfilled” and “powerful enough to be able to respond to all family problems, can go and choose another path,” Bishop Chissengueti emphasized.

The Angolan member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers) called upon those aspiring to join Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) to take the “responsibility to evangelize our families right from the start.”


He added, “All of us as Bishops, Priests, and Religious always have to remember the root of our vocation: to deny ourselves, to take up the Cross every day and follow the Lord.”

“In fact, here lies the great confrontation between what Jesus teaches and transmits as a vocation and mission, and what we often translate into our lack of understanding of the Gospel,” the Local Ordinary of Cabinda Diocese since his Episcopal Consecration in September 2018 said.

He explained, “This is the reason for the thorough training that the Church provides in the formation of Priests and Religious, so that the candidate for the Priesthood or Religious Life learns to love the things of God and community life.”          

“To renounce oneself is to be aware that by setting out on the path of vocation, or by accepting God's invitation, we have to have something to give to others,” the Bishop of Cabinda Diocese, who doubles as the Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for youth, university ministry and Scouting of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST) said. 

He said that he responded to the Lord’s call because he wanted to give his life at the service of the Church's mission “as a positive contribution and not as a burden on communities.”

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“That's why the Church in her wisdom gives us formation time. Formation time is precisely about learning to love the things of God; ... it's a time to learn to love and appreciate community life. It is also the time to learn to put at the service of the community and for the good of the community everything that I receive as a gift. This is self-denial for the construction of our common home,” Bishop Chissengueti explained.

He called upon youths to embrace the spirit of commitment, warning that without the commitment of young people to the spread of the Gospel, the Church “loses the sparkle of the youngest and the continuity of Christ's mission.”

“When the Church prays for vocations, she prays for their continuity in time and history, and she also prays that by having many vocations, her mission can reach all the ends of the earth, as she received from Jesus' command,” Bishop Chissengueti said on April 21, Good Shepherd Sunday, and the 2024 World Day of Prayer for Vocations.

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