Bishops in Mozambique Express Solidarity with Diocese riddled with Attacks

Some members of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM)
Credit: Public Domain

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM) have condemned recent attacks in the northern part of their country covered by the diocese of Pemba and assured the Local Ordinary their prayerful “communion and solidarity.”

The Bishops met in Matola, the largest suburb of Mozambique’s capital, Maputo from 9 to 13 June, in what was their first Ordinary Session of this year's CEM Plenary Assembly under the Presidency of Bishop Lúcio Andrice Muandula.

They deliberated about the situation in the country, including the new Coronavirus that is a global pandemic and the resurgence of attacks in northern Mozambique, in the province of Cabo Delgado.

“Having heard the testimony of the situation of great tribulation in which our brothers and fellow citizens of Cabo Delgado are immersed, we want to assure our prayers for all the victims and to express our empathy, communion and solidarity with our brother Bishop, Luís Lisboa, and to appreciate the witness of pastoral concern that he has boldly and tirelessly given,” the Bishops said in their collective statement at the end of their five-day meeting.

The Prelates assured Bishop Lisboa of Pemba of constant prayer “that God may be the source of comfort and hope and convert the hearts” of those behind “the tragedy.”

Reports indicate that insurgents beheaded 15 heads of families in a week in the districts of Macomia and Meluco, north of the Mozambican province of Cabo Delgado, a situation that has sent fear among residents of the two districts.

This was followed by abduction of 10 girls in the district of Mocímboa da Praia and a further beheading of 10 heads of families on Wednesday, 10, and Thursday, 11, in the village Cabora, in Quiterajo, Macomia district.

The situation of seminarian amid COVID-19 was also discussed by the Bishops who are considering reopening seminaries after they were shut down to contain the spread of the virus.

“We reflected in particular on the resumption of the training of our major seminarians, interrupted by the outbreak of COVID-19 Pandemic,” the Bishops wrote, noting that the Church will employ creative ways of resuming the training, with a possibility of allowing collaborations among institutes of consecrated life in the country.

At the meeting, the Prelates had the joy of receiving the Apostolic Nuncio in Mozambique, Archbishop Piergiorgio Berttoldi accompanied by the new Secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature, Fr. Suman Anthony Paul who has been in Mozambique since March.

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