Major Seminaries in Mozambique to Remain Closed as Academic Year 2020 is Canceled

Entrance to the St. Pius X Theological Major Seminary in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo.

Catholic Bishops in Mozambique have announced the cancellation of the academic year 2020 in all Major Seminaries, which will remain closed for the remaining part of the year amid increasing cases of COVID-19 in the Southern Africa nation.

“The Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM), through its Vocation Office, announces that after deep reflection by the Permanent Council of CEM, in dialogue with the Rectors of Major Seminaries and formation teams, have decided to cancel the academic year 2020 in all the seminaries in the country,” the leadership of CEM has been quoted as saying in a Tuesday, September 22 report. 

In the report, CEM members say that their decision follows “the exponential increase of positive cases of COVID-19 in Mozambique.”

“There are already areas with a pattern of community transmission of the disease, which makes the situation more worrying, endangering the lives of seminarians, formation teams and others,” the members of CEM say, explaining their decision.

In an interview with Vatican News, the Rector of the St. Pius X Theological Major Seminary in Mozambique’s capital, Maputo lauded the “timely decision” of the country’s Bishops to keep the Major Seminaries closed.


“The decision was taken in good time, because it is people's health that is in danger, with the growing number of positive cases of COVID-19. The return of the seminarians to the classes, would make them vulnerable to contamination by the novel coronavirus,” said Fr. Marcos Mubango. 

He noted that as the Seminarians are away, formators in the Seminaries are “improving the conditions for the prevention of the disease according to laid down Health Protocols.”

Fr. Marcos said face-to-face classes at the seminaries are expected to resume by January or February next year “if the health situation improves.”

Addressing the nation on September 4, President Filipe Nyusi announced that the country was entering a “State of Public Calamity starting September 7 for an indefinite period as a way to maintain the COVID-19 preventive measures after a five-month State of Emergency.  

According to a September 17 publication on Mozambique, “A situation of public calamity is considered to be an abnormal event caused by a major disaster, which causes, damages and losses severely compromise the response capacity of the public authorities.

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“A situation of public calamity/disaster may be deemed local or national, depending on the capacity of the local authorities to deal and address at their own the hardship. The declaration of a situation of public calamity must be backed by an act of the Government,” the publication explains.

In Mozambique, “The situation of public calamity is provided for in the Legal Regime of Management and Disaster Risk Reduction, approved by Law no. 10/2020 of 24 August, which in turn is regulated by the Regulations of the Disaster Risk Management and Reduction Law, approved by Decree no. 76/2020 of 1 September.”

Amid increasing cases of COVID-19 in Mozambique, “the Government has declared – for the first time in the history of the country – a situation of public calamity, effective as of 7 September (00.00am),” the September 17 publication indicates with the explanation that the decision has been taken in viewing of mitigating “the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, by means of Decree No. 79/2020, of 4 September.”

“The situation of public calamity shall be in place for an indefinite period, i.e., until being formally terminated by the Government,” the publication further indicates.

The Southern Africa country has recorded at least 7,114 cases of COVID-19 including 45 deaths and 4,064 recoveries. 


In his September 4 address to the nation, President Nyusi also announced the mandatory wearing of face masks in public, the phased reopening of schools and an increase in the number of people to participate in public worship and funerals.

The President also warned Mozambicans against confusing the relaxation of measures with a “total relief of restrictions.”

“Everyone must respect the law and the lives of others, otherwise, we will return to the previous measures,” said President Nyusi, adding that “the five months of the State of Emergency was a huge challenge for Mozambicans, but the whole effort paid off.” 

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.