Catholic Bishops’ Commission in Angola Fosters “reconciliation” After 20 Years of Peace

Fr. Celestino Epalanga, Executive Secretary of the Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Angola and São Tomé. Credit: Vatican Media

The Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace (CCJP) in Angola and São Tomé is seeking to “awaken people's consciences” on the need to foster three aspects of reconciliation in Angola, two decades since civil war ended in the Southern African nation.

In an interview with ACI Africa, the Executive Secretary of CCJP highlighted the three aspects of reconciliation, which members of the entity of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST) discussed during their recent meeting.

During the nine-day seminar that concluded on Monday, April 4, CCJP members in Angola and São Tomé “looked at three aspects of reconciliation, that is, reconciliation with God, reconciliation among brothers, among us Angolans, and reconciliation with creation”, Fr. Celestino Epalanga said during the Tuesday, April 5 interview. 

The seminar that was titled, "National Journey of Reconciliation and Peace" underscored the “need to awaken people's consciences to work on these three aspects of reconciliation with God”, Fr. Epalanga said.

“We are appealing with the people of God to be builders of peace, (to be) builders of reconciliation with concrete gestures”, he added in reference to the seminar that discussed “the National Day of Reconciliation and Peace” under the theme, “Lord make me an instrument of your Peace."


Participants in the seminar, the CCJP Executive Secretary said, emphasized the need to search for common paths to consolidate peace and strengthen national reconciliation in Angola that is marking 20 years since the end of civil war.

“We also addressed the growing social tension and the degrading social life in the country”, the member of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits – SJ) added in reference to strikes and tensions ahead of general elections scheduled to take place in August.

The CCJP official who doubles as lecturer and member of the Ethics Committee of the Catholic University of Angola highlighted the degradation of social life in his native country of Angola where personnel of key sectors have been on strike for months.

“At this very moment we have two very important sectors of society on strike,” Fr. Epalanga, referencing university professors who have been on strike for more than three months, and teachers who he said “aren't coming to school and the supervising ministry hasn’t pronounced itself.”

“We run the risk of canceling the school year”, he said about the strikes that are paralyzing the education sector in Angola, and regretted the fact that "there are no signs of dialogue” to end the strikes.

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The Jesuit Priest also highlighted the strike by medical doctors saying, “About seven or eight days ago, doctors also went on strike due to low salaries and poor working conditions in hospitals.”

“They may be doctors, they may be knowledgeable, but they have no material to work with; not even simple tools such as gloves and syringes; no medicine to give to patients,” he told ACI Africa, and added, “We have to safeguard the greater good, and that can be achieved through dialogue.”

In the April 5 interview, the CCJP official who doubles as the Episcopal Vicar for Social Pastoral department of Angola’s Luanda Archdiocese of Luanda reiterated the Catholic Bishops’ call that the August general elections take place in a “climate of peace, a climate of security, and in a climate of tolerance.”

“At the conclusion of our seminar on Monday, April 4, we prayed and expressed our desire to live in peace with one another, to forgive and (to live) reconciliation” Fr. Epalanga told ACI Africa.

Sheila Pires is a veteran radio and television Mozambican journalist based in South Africa. She studied communications at the University of South Africa. She is passionate about writing on the works of the Church through Catholic journalism.