Late Bishop of Lwena Diocese in Angola Ministered “with great generosity”: Successor

Late Bishop Jesús Tirso Blanco. Credit: Lwena Diocese

Bishop Jesús Tirso Blanco, who died on 22 February 2022 at the age of 64 has been remembered for serving the people of God under his care in Angola’s Lwena Diocese “with great generosity” despite many challenges.

In his homily during the second anniversary of Bishop Tirso’s death, the Local Ordinary of the Angolan Diocese called for continuous prayers for the repose of his successor’s soul.

“Bishop Tirso served those whom the Lord entrusted to him with great generosity and in the midst of trials,” Bishop Martín Lasarte Topolansky said during the February 22 Eucharistic celebration at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral of Lwena Diocese.

Bishop Lasarte added, “Such was the life of our pastor, who sought nothing other than to serve the young people entrusted to him in Moxico (Province, Angola) and did so by identifying himself with Christ the Servant.”

“Let's think of the hard times of war that he went through, accompanying the trials with poor health, going without regret to visit the Christians in the most remote areas,” the Uruguayan-born member of the Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) said about his confrere and predecessor, who served as Local Ordinary of Lwena Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in March 2008 till his death in Verona, Italy, after a “prolonged illness”.


Bishop Lasarte recalled the health challenges his Argentine-born confrere endured, saying, “Let's think about the anguish he suffered and how hard he worked because of the lack of personnel, to be able to serve this immense diocese, which led him to look for a thousand ways to reach everyone, starting with the creation of seminaries.”

“Let's also consider the pain caused by the lack of zeal and even infidelity of some of his pastoral agents, which led him to make a patient fraternal correction and look for new ways to carry out the mission,” the Uruguayan-born SDB member, whose Episcopal appointment was made public last July said, adding, “The problems came and Bishop Tirso didn't get discouraged.”

Some 18 months before his passing on, Bishop Tirso spearheaded the realization of a mobile application (app) containing the Holy Bible and the Catholic Missal in four national languages spoken in the Eastern region of Angola.

Realized as “Catitablet” project, which was abbreviated from “Catholic teaching (catechesis) on the tablet”, the initiative saw the Bible and Missal translated into Tchokwe, Luchazes, Lunda-Ndembo and Luvale languages. These are the languages predominantly spoken in the Eastern part of Angola.

Speaking during the launch of the app on 4 August 2020, Bishop Tirso said that the production of the digital Bible and Missal, a project undertaken by the faithful during the COVID-19 pandemic, was “evidence that the Diocese is fulfilling its role in expanding the word of God.”

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Earlier, in March 2016, the late Bishop had facilitated the opening of St. Joseph Major Seminary.  He also spearheaded the reopening of St. John Mary Vianney Propaedeutic Seminary in November 2018, after approximately seven months of work to repair the damage caused by a fire in March of the same year.

Bishop Tirso was also involved in community ministry with pastoral visits despite his fragile health and the poor state of roads in his Episcopal See.

One of his repeated appeals was for the roads to be reopened and for an end to the indiscriminate felling of trees by the timber companies operating in Angola’s Moxico Province. 

He also denounced the smuggling of fuel to the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) when the pumps were out of fuel for days, sometimes weeks, throughout the province of Moxico.

João Vissesse is an Angolan Journalist with a passion and rich experience in Catholic Church Communication and Media Apostolate.