At 53, Church leaders in Angola and São Tomé Commit to Renewed Evangelization

Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST)

At the celebration of 53 years since the establishment of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST), members of the two-nation body have sought to renew their commitment to the ministry of integral evangelization including partnerships with their respective governments in providing social services to the people of God.

“The celebration of these 53 years is a time to strengthen our commitment to the transmission of faith,” the spokesman of CEAST, Bishop Belmiro Cuica Chissengueti have been quoted as telling Vatican News

He added, “It is important that the Church continues to celebrate history and 53 years are to remember and celebrate and from there continue the journey of announcing the Christian message, not only focusing on the work that the bishops have done but also going out to others.”

“CEAST, better known by the faithful, both in its action and in its intervention, is what is intended today as we celebrate 53 years,” the 51-year-old Angolan Prelate said.

The April 15 anniversary celebration was also an opportunity for the Bishops to highlight the role of the Church in the struggle for independence, peace and consolidation of democracy in the country.


According to Bishop Chissengueti, a member of Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), the post Golden-jubilee celebration offers members of CEAST the opportunity “to collaborate with the State on those fronts that are urgent and structuring in a Nation, namely health, education and the side of human formation.” 

“It is also the time to fight against corruption in the country as well as to invest in training and create something more committed,” the Local Ordinary of Cabinda noted.

At the time of its establishment in 1967, CEAST comprised of the Bishops of the Portuguese speaking nations of Mozambique, Angola and Sao Tome and Principe. However, Socio-cultural differences between the two then overseas Provinces led to an effective break-up with the creation in each territory of the respective Episcopal Conference, according to Radio Ecclesia

Reminiscing the history of the two-nation Conference, Bishops listened to the speech made by then CEAST president, Archbishop Filomeno Vieira Lopes, during their 2018 golden jubilee celebrations.

“The establishment of the ecclesiastical hierarchy in Angola dates from 1940 and in 1956; the Vatican suggested the idea of holding joint meetings of the Bishops of Angola and Mozambique every two years, alternately in Lourenço Marques, now Maputo, and in Luanda,” Archbishop Filomeno Vieira Lopes of Luanda said during the 2018 celebration.

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He added, “The Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST), was raised on 15 April 1967, becoming an assembly of the ecclesiastical hierarchy of the then overseas provinces of Angola and São Tomé.”  

According to Msgr. Filomeno Vieira Dias, the Episcopal Conferences "have become in these years a concrete, living and effective reality in all parts of the world".

During the April 15 celebration, the Bishops also recalled CEAST’s effort to put an end to the Angolan civil war, which began when the South African nation attained independence in 1975 and continued, with interludes, until 2002.

“It was a moment of joy and also of bitterness of the war,” the Bishop emeritus of Uíge, Francisco de Mata Mourista recalled and added, “We all worked towards the end of this war: praying, doing appeals and sending messages of hope.”

Angola has five Ecclesiastical Provinces, with five Archdioceses and 14 suffragan dioceses, while São Tomé has only one diocese.




Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.