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.
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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.
Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.