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Bishop in Mozambique Transferred to Brazilian Diocese, Elevated to Archbishop ad Personam

Archbishop-elect Luiz Fernando Lisboa

Pope Francis has transferred Bishop Luiz Fernando Lisboa who has been serving as Local Ordinary of Mozambique’s Pemba Diocese to the Brazilian Diocese of Cachoeiro de Itapemirim.

In the Thursday, February 11 transfer published by the Holy See Press Office, Pope Francis also elevated the Brazilian-born member of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (Passionists) to “Archbishop ad personam.”

Archbishop ad personam is a rank, which the Holy Father confers on some Bishops who are not Local Ordinaries of Archdioceses. Thus, the title of Archbishop is conferred on them individually rather than on the Diocese they govern.

In Brazil, Archbishop-elect Lisboa is expected to succeed Archbishop Dario Campos who was transferred to the Brazilian Archdiocese of Vitória in November 2018.

Following news of his transfer and elevation, Catholic Bishops in Mozambique have acknowledged with appreciation the ministry of the Archbishop-elect among the people of God in Mozambique.

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In a collective statement obtained by ACI Africa Thursday, February 11, the members of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique (CEM) say, “We are very grateful to the Holy Father for having given us, since 2013 until very recently, this great missionary from Brazil as Bishop of our beloved Diocese of Pemba.”

“We thank His Excellency Dom Luís Fernando Lisboa for the selfless pastoral work done among us, in the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique and in the country, even in such difficult times and situations,” Catholic Bishops in Mozambique say in their collective message signed by CEM President, Bishop Andrice Muandula.

As Bishop of Pemba, Archbishop-elect Lisboa stood out, in recent years, defending the populations of the troubled region of Cabo Delgado in Northern Mozambique, a target of violence by Islamist terrorist groups.

In their collective message, CEM members further say in reference to the Archbishop elect, “We take this moment to wish him a fruitful and blessed apostolate in his new mission.”

A native of Marques de Valença in Brazil’s Diocese of Valença within the Ecclesiastical Province of São Sebastião do Rio de Janeiro, the 65-year-old Archbishop-elect studied Philosophy in Curitiba, at the Pontifical Catholic University of Paraná (1977-1980) and Theology at the Theological Institute of São Paulo-ITESP (1980-1984). 

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He specialized in Missiology and Liturgy at the Faculty of Theology Nossa Senhora da Assunção in São Paulo.

He made his Religious profession in the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (Passionists) on 23 January 1977. He was ordained a Priest in December 1983.

In 2001, the Archbishop-elect was sent as a missionary to the Diocese of Pemba, Mozambique, where he served as Parish Vicar, Parish Priest and formator at the Passionist Seminary.

He was appointed Bishop of Mozambique’s Pemba Diocese in June 2013 and ordained a Bishop in August 2013.

In 2018, Archbishop-elect Lisboa served as Secretary General of the Bishops' Conference of Mozambique and Coordinator of the Social Department of the same conference.

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Speaking to Radio Itapemirim shortly after his appointment, the Archbishop-elect said, “I am a missionary and I went to Africa and worked there for almost 20 years; I will continue as a missionary, now here in Brazilian lands and in this beloved Diocese of Cachoeira de Itapemirim. I am very happy with this new beginning, because our life is just like that, always a new beginning. And I am willing to learn, because I know I will learn.”

“The experience of working in Africa is very strong and deep. I always had the will, the desire to go beyond the borders,” Archbishop-elect Lisboa further said.

He continued, “I prayed a lot for that in my youth, and God heard my prayer. I went there at the beginning of 2001 as a missionary, after a nine-year experience there, I came back to Brazil to stay for a year and ended up staying four years in the Archdiocese of Curitiba.”

Members of the Episcopal Conference of Brazil have recognized the apostolate of Archbishop-elect Lisboa in Mozambique’s Pemba Diocese amid the ongoing insurgency.

“We praise your missionary presence as a Bishop in Pemba, a Diocese located in a region marked by war that has already killed more than 2,000 people and more than 500,000 displacements, especially in Cabo Delgado, a constant target of attacks,” Catholic Bishops in Brazil say.

They add, “We also highlight your contribution to the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique, serving as secretary-general and coordinator of the Social Department.” 

Last December, Archbishop-elect Lisboa said exploitation of natural resources is the cause of the crisis in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado Province.

“The conflicts in the Cabo Delgado region have their origins in the costs of exploiting natural resources,” he said during a webinar promoted by Catholic Church organizations in Portugal.

In August 2020, Pope Francis telephoned Bishop Lisboa to express his “closeness” to him, as well as “to the people of the Cabo Delgado region.”

“Today, August 19, 2020 at 11, to my surprise and joy, I received a call from His Holiness, Pope Francis who comforted me greatly,” the Archbishop-elect said in a message published on the Facebook page of Pemba Diocese.

He added that the Holy Father “monitors the situation experienced in our province with great concern and has prayed for us.”

Meanwhile, Pope Francis has appointed the Auxiliary Bishop of Maputo, António Juliasse Ferreira Sandramo as Apostolic Administrator of Mozambique’s Pemba Diocese.