Newly Consecrated Bishop for São Tomé and Príncipe Urged to Build His Ministry on Prayer “before the tabernacle”

The newly Consecrated Bishop for the Diocese of São Tomé and Príncipe in the Central African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe has been urged to guild his Episcopal Ministry on a life of prayer in front of the tabernacle, where he can learn to sacrifice himself for the Lord.

In his homily during the March 17 Episcopal Ordination of Mons. João de Ceita Nazaré at Our Lady of Grace Cathedral of the Diocese of São Tomé and Príncipe, the outgoing Apostolic Nuncio in Angola and São Tomé & Príncipe, Archbishop Giovanni Gaspari, called upon the new Bishop to be a shepherd after the example of Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd.

“For a Bishop, prayer is a necessity and not a simple devotion,” Archbishop Gaspari said, and emphasizing the need for the new Bishop to continually offer himself to the Lord in service further said, “You have to learn before the tabernacle to trust the Lord more and more and to give yourself to Him.”

He called upon Mons. Nazaré to shepherd the people of God under his pastoral care after the example of Jesus Christ, saying, “This is the vocation and mission of a Bishop, called to become the fullness of another Christ in the Priesthood, the Good Shepherd who knows his sheep and offers them eternal life, the one who unites the flock, the only Good Shepherd and the only Savior, who gave Himself for our salvation.”

“As a commitment among many, with a ministry that is indispensable, a Bishop has the duty to bring people before God every day, to be a teacher of faith, charity and hope,” said the member of the Clergy of Italy’s Archdiocese of Pescara-Penne, who is set to represent the Holy Father in Korea and Mongolia following his March 2 appointment.


He added, “The most sublime effect of man's dignity lies precisely in his vocation to encounter God”, who opens his heart and transforms his life to a fulfilling relationship with Him.

The 60-year-old Apostolic Nuncio invited the first native Bishop of the Diocese of São Tomé and Príncipe to teach “not only with words, but above all with the example of his life.”

He encouraged the 50-year-old Bishop-elect to conduct himself in a manner that the people of God under his pastoral care “hear your voice and follow you.”

“They will always listen to you, to the extent that they admire your docility to the Holy Spirit and ... they will follow you when they discover in you the secret of their condition as shepherd and teacher,” Archbishop Gaspari told Mons. Nazaré.

The Church walks together in synodality, the Apostolic Nuncio said, adding that the faithful “must be around their new shepherd and he must love the flock entrusted to him by Christ, knowing and loving each sheep as a father.”    

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Born in August 1973 in Trindade, São Tomé, Mons. Nazaré who was appointed Local Ordinary for the Diocese of São Tomé and Príncipe on January 9, was ordained a Priest in August 2006.

The holder of a licentiate in theology and Portuguese literature from the Catholic University of Portugal and the Polytechnic Institute of Bragança, respectively, has previously served as Vicar General of São Tomé and Principe Diocese, head of the diocesan Caritas and Radio Jubilar, and lecturer at the University of São Tomé and Principe.

In his maiden speech after his Consecration, Bishop Nazaré thanked everyone who has been part of his journey, both to the Priesthood, and, that day, to Episcopacy.

On his part, the President of São Tomé and Príncipe, Carlos Vila Nova, said that with the Episcopal Ordination of Bishop Nazaré, “a new stage now begins, that of the most serious things, which does not mean that the others were not serious, but now, all of us around the Bishop of the Diocese of São Tomé and Príncipe, united.”

“Let's bring together our efforts and help the Bishop lead the sheep of the people of God; let's help the people of God who need it so much,” President Nova said.


Bishop Nazaré will be at the helm of the 1,001 square kilometer Diocese that was established in November 1534 as the Diocese of Tomé from the Metropolitan See of Funchal, Portugal.

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