The Diocese of Lwena reckons that it needs at least 200 priests to attend to the current pastoral demands, said the Bishop of the Diocese, Jesús Tirso Blanco, S.D.B.
English Africa Service – Vatican City & Anastácio Sasembele – Luanda
The extensive Diocese of Lwena needs at least 200 priests to meet the current demand for pastoral life in this ecclesiastical circumscription, belonging to the Ecclesiastical Province of Saurimo.
Let us make vocation promotion a priority
With a surface area of 223,000 km², the Diocese of Lwena is located in Eastern Angola. It covers the entire Province of Moxico. The population of the diocesan territory is composed of numerous ethnic groups though the majority are the Tchokwe speaking people.
To mitigate the shortage of priests, Bishop Blanco is urging parish communities to seriously make the promotion of vocations to the priesthood a priority.
“Our Diocese of Lwena, due to the number of inhabitants, and considering the difficulties of a large territory, would need at least 200 priests for her to be able to evangelize effectively,” explained the prelate.
Training the laity
Considering the size of one of Southern Africa’s biggest dioceses, Lwena has been training the laity for pastoral responsibilities which can be performed by them.
“We need a sufficiently trained laity, committed to their faith and each according to the gift he or she received from the Holy Spirit at Baptism,” added Bishop Blanco.
Very habitable territory but with poor road network
Bishop Blanco has always explained that the Diocese of Lwena which is in the Province of Moxico is very fertile territory and therefore attractive for habitation.
“The province is endowed with many rivers and forests, and therefore it is very habitable -practically the entire territory. Unfortunately, the region is serviced by a very poor road network, making it difficult to reach far flung communities for pastoral work and evangelization,” said the Bishop.
First established as a Diocese in 1963, the Diocese of Lwena has a total Catholic population of 118,600. The entire Diocese is served by less than 40 diocesan and religious clergy. The Bishop has since called for realistic expectations of what the Church can and should do given the challenges.