Newly Ordained Catholic Bishop in Angola Urged to Foster Episcopal “service, not honor”

Bishop Firmino David, the newly Consecrated Bishop of Angola’s Sumbe Diocese. Credit: Radio Maria Angola

Bishop Firmino David, the newly Consecrated Bishop of Angola’s Sumbe Diocese will need to foster “service and not honor” during his Episcopal ministry.

In his homily during the Consecration event on July 23, Archbishop Zeferino Zeca Martins said the Universal Church and the people of God in Sumbe Diocese expect a lot from their new shepherd, and underscored the need for Catholic Bishops to imitate Jesus Christ who “devoted himself to his people”.

“Episcopacy means service and not honor because the Bishop is to serve rather than to rule according to the commandment of the Master. Whoever is the greatest among you, let him be a servant to others,” Archbishop Zeca of Angola’s Huambo Archdiocese said during the event held at John Paul II Square in Sumbe.

He added, “The Church, because it knows you, expects a lot from you. Your deep faith rooted in the word and solidified in culture, your knowledge of the law, and your passion for history give you this freedom of an always open and dialoguing gaze that will greatly contribute, so that the Church, especially the Church of Sumbe, continues to find the way of the mission.”

“The Bishop is the one whose service continues in the Church or Apostolic Ministry; he is first of the disciples, of those who left everything to follow Jesus, fulfilling his mission to the end, even to the gift of his own life,” the Angolan member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) said.


He continued, “It is true that history and culture have often surrounded the Bishop with the glories of the great ones of this world, but these do not express the nobility of his ministry, as Paul expresses to the Corinthians.”

“The greatness of the Apostle, our greatness, is affirmed in bearing all things in order to console and support all in the hope of salvation,” the 57-year-old Angolan Archbishop said.

He added, “Like Christ, the Bishop is first and foremost the one sent to the afflicted to comfort them and sow in them the hope of salvation. This is what removes the Bishop's ministry from any optics of worldly power, to place it in the humble field of service.”       

Archbishop Zeca appealed to the people of God in the Southern African nation to “pray for the new Bishop, that the Lord may make him a very faithful servant and a shepherd who is always solicitous and zealous in caring for the flock that the Lord entrusts to him today.”             

“We ask God, through the intercession of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, patroness of our Archdiocese, that your ministry may be long and fruitful,” he further implored.

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Until his appointment as Bishop for Sumbe Diocese on May 4, Bishop David had been serving as Rector of Christ the King Major Seminary in Huambo Archdiocese.

Born in April 1963 in Sasalakata in the Catholic Archdiocese of Lubango, the new Angolan Bishop was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Archdiocese of Huambo in April 1991.

In his maiden speech following his Episcopal Ordination, Bishop David thanked Pope Francis for the “trust in a humble servant”.

“I thank His Holiness Pope Francis for entrusting this mission to me,” he said, and added, “I have accepted this great and noble challenge to feed the sheep of Sumbe, with joy, unity and exercise of Charity according to the heart of the Lord.”

The Angolan Catholic Bishop further said, “I am infinitely grateful to God for the gift of baptism that enabled me to get the gift of the Episcopate, through the Catholic Church, and my dear parents and my dear godparents.”


João Vissesse contributed to the writing of this story

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