Pope and the challenge of “Peace, Hope and Reconciliation” in Mozambique
Matters of peace, hope and reconciliation dominate the expectations of the faithful in Mozambique and beyond as they await the arrival of Pope Francis. Although it is not evident that there are voices saying that the Pope is a political victim of the political strategy for the next elections, nevertheless we can only say “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.”
After our visit to the Diocese of Tete which is borders Malawi, we have since been able to visit the Catholic communities in Beira and Nampula as well, two archdioceses that tell the story of 75 years of evangelisation.
Radio Pax, which is in the Archdiocese of Beira near the Gorogonza Mountain, recalls the efforts of Archbishop Jaime Pedro Gonçalves in the service of peace in Mozambique. “Peace is such a precious asset that it needs to be cherished”.
“Radio Encontro”, which is located in Nampula emphasises the need for peace, especially in the context of the recent cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
The Bishop of Pemba Luiz Fernando Lisboa CP describes the sad situation of violence in the province of Cabo Delgado. The sad situation is that until now it is not clear what or who is the cause of this violence. This is like, in his words, “Fighting a Ghost”. “As long as the people are used by invisible powers that impose their interests, there will be no peace, no reconciliation and much less hope in Mozambique.”
Beira and Nampula have both been affected by the events in Cabo Delgado as well as the cyclones Idai and Kenneth.
Coming back to the Pope’ visit, it is thus heartening to note that pastoral agents have reacted positively to the invitation of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique pertaining to the Pope’s visit. The communiqué, signed by CEM President Bishop Lúcio Muandula, Bishop of Xai-Xai, indicates that Hope, Peace and Reconciliation is the motto chosen for the visit of the Pope. As such we can look forward to the rekindling of the spirit of the people of Mozambique who have been traumatised by the violent events unfolding in Capo Delgado as well as the recent cyclones.