Angola: Priestly ordination in fraternal communion

On February 4, the Redemptorists of the Vice-Province of Luanda (Angola) celebrated with joy the priestly ordination of its 28-year-old confrere Aurelio Agostinho Gomes. This ordination had several meanings. Fr. Aurelio comes from the outskirts of the city of Soyo, in northern Angola, where Redemptorists are not present. The Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) ministered in the rural parish of Santo Antonio de Mpinda, the home parish of Aurelio – and the place where the first Christians of the then Kingdom of Congo were baptized by the first missionaries to evangelize in this region. This was around 1491. The ordination took place in this parish area, together with another son of the place, Fr. Pedro André, a Spiritan, and the Eucharist was presided over by Msgr. Belmiro Chissengueti, also a Spiritan, who is bishop of the northernmost diocese of Angola, Cabinda. The joyful gathering was a celebration marked by ecclesial communion, a small ‘sign’ of unity in a world that tends towards fragmentation.

Furthermore, Fr. Aurélio was formed as a Redemptorist in Angola and Burkina Faso, where he did his novitiate and theology, so he is also a fruit (and sign) of the collaboration in formation and mission between the Redemptorist Units of Africa. The presence of 16 confreres from all the communities of the Vice-Province only strengthened the sign of communion in the Vice-Province and with the Spiritan brothers who welcomed us with open arms. In addition, lay Spiritan and Redemptorist collaborators from various places were present at the event, especially local co-workers and others from the capital of Angola, about 450 km away. An event of fraternal solidarity, communion and collaboration in the mission. Praised be God!

Fr João Pedro Fernandes, CSsR

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