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Cape Verde’s Mindelo Diocese to Celebrate Three-year Jubilee Fostering Solidarity, Charity

Bishop Ildo Augusto dos Santos Lopes Fortes of Cape Verde's Mindelo Diocese. Credit: Mindelo Diocese

The Diocese of Mindelo in Cape Verde is set to begin a three-year jubilee celebration to culminate on the 20th anniversary of the Cape Verdean Episcopal See.

In a Pastoral Letter circulated over the weekend, the Local Ordinary of Cape Verde’s Mindelo Diocese, says the faithful are to start preparations for the Jubilee celebration that will conclude in 2024.

“As we journey towards the 20th anniversary of our Diocese, we are all expected to make a sincere effort to live in communion, solidarity and charity with our fellow brothers and sisters,” Bishop Ildo Augusto dos Santos Lopes Fortes says.

 He adds, “At a time like our own, beset by so many fears, insecurities and sufferings, words must be translated into gestures of solidarity and love. Love is capable of creating and imagining new paths, new actions, new realities and new relationships.”

The Bishop of Mindelo adds that the Jubilee is also a time for thanksgiving to the Lord. 

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“In recent years, despite the difficulties that the whole world has experienced and continues to experience, we have many graces to give to God for the many marvels he has worked for us, especially in the areas of the family, Christian formation and the fantasy of charity,” he says in the letter circulated Saturday, August 28.

The three-year Jubilee celebrations are to be undertaken under the theme, “Church, Home and School of Communion, Alive and Missionary.”

In the two-page pastoral letter, Bishop dos Santos says, “This theme evokes the motto that guided the Diocese from 2004, when the adventure of the new Local Church began under the pastoral leadership of my predecessor and first Bishop of this Church, Bishop Arlindo Furtado. We add the missionary thrust that is what the whole Church is aiming at in this 21st century.”

Making reference to Pope St. John Paul II, the Bishop says, “To make the Church the home and the school of communion: that is the great challenge facing us in the millennium which is now beginning, if we wish to be faithful to God's plan and respond to the world's deepest expectations.”

“The Pontiff, who created the Diocese of Mindelo on 14 November 2003, was aware that it was imperative to launch the Church towards a new pastoral dynamism and warned of the importance of promoting ecclesial communion above all,” he adds in reference to Pope St. John II.

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The Bishop who has been at the helm of the Cape Verdean since his Episcopal Ordination in April 2011 further says, “Before planning concrete initiatives, it is necessary to promote a spirituality of communion, raising it to the level of an educational principle wherever people and Christians are formed, wherever ministers of the altar, consecrated persons and pastoral workers are educated, wherever families and communities are built up.”

“The purpose of the spirituality of communion has marked our pastoral plans and means, in the first place, to have the gaze of our heart turned towards God the Trinity - a mystery of love, who dwells in us and is reflected in the faces of the brothers and sisters around us,” he adds.

He continues, “A spirituality of communion means to feel our brother or sister as ‘one who is part of me’, as ‘my flesh’, to know how to share their joys and sufferings, to understand their desires and meet their needs, to offer them true and profound friendship.”

The 56-year-old Cape Verdean Bishop further says, “The structures created and to be created in the Diocese are spaces of communion which we must make good use of and promote for the good of the whole Church.”

The Diocesan structures, he continues, “must be an expression of the bonds of communion between the Bishop, Priests and Deacons, between Pastors and the whole People of God, between Clergy and Religious, between associations, groups and ecclesial movements.”

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Apart from the Spirituality of communion that is inherent in the Christian nature, the native of Portugal says “the missionary dimension” is important, adding that “missionary discipleship is proper to those who belong to the Lord.”

“The Christian community cannot withdraw from missionary activity because this remains its priority task. On this journey towards the 20th anniversary of the Diocese, we wish to emphasize even more this urgent and important reality,” the Cape Verdean Bishop adds.

He notes that the crisis provoked by the COVID-19 pandemic “becomes a good opportunity for the proclamation of the Gospel, because more than ever we need someone to give us reasons for hope in order to live and move forward: Christ is light and meaning of life for every person, in every circumstance.”

“May St. Joseph, the Guardian of the Redeemer and Patron of the Universal Church, continue to watch over all humanity with his attentive and trusting gaze and protect our communities with his solicitous Fatherly heart,” Bishop dos Santos implores in his August 28 pastoral letter.