Bishops in Angola, São Tomé Dedicate 3-Year Pastoral Plan to Children Welfare

Members of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST) at the end of Holy Mass to end their Plenary Assembly in Angola's capital, Luanda, Monday, March 9, 2020.

The welfare of children will be the main focus of the three-year Pastoral Plan of the Bishops' Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST), which will be launched in November this year, the Church leaders announced in a statement at the end of their first annual plenary assembly held from March 3-9. 

“The Bishops have approved the pastoral programme for the triennium 2021/2023, with the theme "Children, affirmation of life and the future," reads in part the communique at the conclusion the plenary Assembly of CEAST Monday, March 9.

“In the first year of the new Pastoral plan, in 2021, we shall reflect on "Children affirming life", in the second year on "Children's faith education" and in the third year, on "The integration of children in the Church and society," the Bishops’ disclosed in their collective statement following their meeting at the Muxima Sanctuary, in Angola’s capital Luanda.

“We urge all dioceses, parishes, religious groups and movements to adhere to the new pastoral plan so as to ensure a better future for our children who have an active role in the growth of the Church,” adds the message read by CEAST spokesman, Bishop Belmiro Cuica Chissengueti.

The Plenary Assembly examined issues relating to the protection of the family, the fight against corruption and the repatriation of capital illicitly taken out of their countries.


The Bishops also approved CEAST guidelines for the protection of minors and vulnerable persons, the establishment of a Theological Seminary in the Archdiocese of Malanje as well as the expansion of the Church's media, especially Ecclesia TV.

The members of CEAST also studied the statutes of various apostolic groups and movements awaiting approval in order to make them more functional and adapted to the national context.

In their statement, CEAST members lamented the “harsh social and economic situation that many Angolan families go through.”

“We consider that the standard of living of the population continues to deteriorate with the growth of unemployment and the consequent loss of purchasing power,” the Bishops bemoaned and added, “there is a need to give priority to projects that promote employment.”

The Church leaders also expressed concern over the number of deaths from malaria, which they say “continues to be alarming.” 

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Meanwhile, as the coronavirus continues to spread around the world with reports of close to 9 countries affected in Africa, CEAST Bishops “support the preventive measures that the Angolan government has adopted. So far, the country has no positive case of Covid-19" and the health authorities are stepping up surveillance.”

The Prelates also expressed concern over the process of combating corruption and the repatriation of capital illegally swindled from the country saying, “The repatriation of capital illicitly taken out of the country, being an urgent and necessary process, should not slip in the revenge that can give way to hatred, but it should be a process of justice and forgiveness and be a path that helps the consolidation of peace and forces those concerned to return the resources to the country.”

In a press conference, Bishop Belmiro said that the Bishops draw attention to two aspects, namely the consolidation of peace, "which is necessary" and "an important element", and to ensure that what has been unlawfully taken from the country can return.

“Therefore, what we are calling attention to is that there should not be this selection process, which can show a certain vengeance directed towards A or B,” said the Bishop of Cabinda at the press briefing Monday, March 9.

According to the CEAST spokesman, it is important to give the opportunity for those who have money outside to bring it back and invest in the country, assuming the responsibilities inherent in this process.


“We need to give more time, more opportunities. What do we care if we shout so much and have nothing? After all this time, what is the actual balance of the repatriation of capital, how much has come back?” he probed.

Angola, Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest economy, is ranked as one of the world’s most corrupt nations, in 165th place on a list of 180 countries, according to anti-corruption group Transparency International, Reuters News reported.

The Angolan government has been seeking other countries’ help to recover state funds lost because of corruption with President Joao Lourenco promising to fight against graft and reform the economy.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.