“Your light must shine in the sight of men” (Mt. 5, 16)
To the Christian Communities and to all the people of good will: peace, joy and hope in the Risen Lord.
Assembled in the Spirituality Centre and Mission of St. Paul of Laulane in Maputo, Mozambique from 16th till 19th April 2018, we, the Catholic Bishops of Mozambique, through this press release, wish to express our closeness and communion with you and with all men and women of goodwill, particularly now when our people are confronted by countless challenges.
The Assembly of Bishops, preceded by a few days of retreat, was an opportunity to pray and reflect about some aspects of the spirituality of our Christian Communities and of our people.
In this way we want to share with you the fruits of our work, as well as our concerns regarding the social and ecclesial life of the present time.
As always, we were honoured by the presence of His Excellency Archbishop Edgar Pena Parra, Apostolic Nuncio in Mozambique. In his address, His Excellency shared with us the situation of the universal Church and of the world in general and encouraged us to accompany and to show to the Christian Communities and to the Mozambican People, our pastoral solicitude and availability, in this delicate time in which we find ourselves; reminding us of the Holy Father’s appeal, he asked us to pay for Peace in the world, especially in Syria, which has been martyred hard and for a long time.
As we reflected on this subject, we especially centred our attention in three dimensions of evangelization: Proclamation of the Word, Communion in the faith and in the love celebrated in the sacraments and in our life Witness.
We feel the urgency of prioritizing the nurturing of the spirituality, increasing the apostolic zeal, promoting love e deepen the Word of God. We think it is important to insist on a joint pastoral, promoting a spirituality of communion, improving our dialogue and communication to achieve a “unity of heart and soul” (Acts 4, 32) like the early Christian Community.
We are concerned about the increasing deterioration of the social and etic values in our country, visible in the hidden debts which seem to have no solution and nobody seems responsible for, about the frequent kidnappings that sow so much fear and insecurity, the generalized violence, intolerance, degradation of the quality of life, the ever widening gap between the rich and the powerful and the People who are getting poorer, the increase of the population and decrease of the means of production, the degradation of public health, the incoherence between what is stated /said and what actually happens. Unfortunately it is becoming a way of life to promise one thing and do another or hide and privatize information which everyone should know.
Without witness, the proclamation of the Gospel is incomplete; we, therefore, feel the need to give formation to our Christians so that they give a coherent witness through the practice of the sanctity of life, as Pope Francis invites us in his Apostolic Exhortation: “Gaudete et Exsultate” (Rejoice and be Glad)
We are also very worried about the news that comes from Mocímboa da Praia – Cabo Delgado – about the attacks and violence of these last months. Regretfully the information about the real perpetrators and their motivations is contradictory. This state of affairs leaves the population unstable, fearful and anxious, which at the end of the day compromises their ordinary life.
We want to congratulate ourselves with the way the local (municipal) elections held in Nampula, without great upsets. We encourage the efforts of dialogue of our political leaders in the decentralization process, the laying down of arms and in the re-integration of the different factions to reach a long lasting peace. We invite all citizens to participate massively in the next elections. We especially encourage the leaders of the different political parties to turn the next ballots into a civic fest, to show our democratic maturity, our tolerance and respect for the differences among us. May we consolidate democracy and peace which we make public in our speeches! About elections we invite everyone to read the Pastoral letters of the Mozambican Bishops which will be published soon.
During our meeting we saw the need to begin the preparation of the National pastoral Assembly, moved by the following:
We think that the next pastoral Assembly will take place in the next two to three years.
We, the Catholic Bishops of Mozambique, with great anticipation / excitement, announce the first national Youth Rally for 20th to 24th June in the Diocese of Chimoio, the provincial capital of Manica. This Youth Rally will also be an opportunity to prepare the next General Assembly of the Bishops’ Synod, which will be held in Rome from 3rdto 28th October this year about “Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment”. We, therefore, request that all Christian communities in our Diocese prepare these events in moments of prayer, catechesis and formation.
We appeal to the pastoral workers and to all faithful in general to get into the habit of reading, knowing, meditating and allowing themselves to be guided by the Word of God, to be able to stop the extreme activism of many souls and recover the fervour of faith, as Saint Paul says: “All Scripture is inspired by God and can profitably be used for teaching, for refuting error, for guiding people’s lives and teaching them to be holy”(2 Tim 3, 16).
We encourage all Christians, especially those involved in the different spheres of the political, economic and social life to shed light into society through a coherent life according to their faith: “your light must shine in the sight of men, so that seeing your good works they may give praise to your Father in heaven”. (Mt. 5, 16).
To the men and women of good will, we appeal to a life guided by values of coherence, integrity, solidarity, transparency, tolerance, respect and pursuit of the common good.
The Risen Lord is the conqueror of death and the basis and origin of our hope, in the building of a united Mozambique, free of violence and war, full of forgiveness, reconciliation, love and peace.
To all we give our apostolic blessing and invoke the protection of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, the Patroness of Mozambique.
Maputo, 19th April, 2018
For and on behalf of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique
+Francisco Chimoio Archbishop of Maputo and President of CEM
Below is the Portuguese Translation of the Press Release