AFRICA / MOZAMBIQUE – A missionary of the Consolata: “For a hundred years in the service of the people, carrying the proclamation of the Gospel”
Maputo (Agenzia Fides) – “We can take stock almost after a century of the presence of the Missionaries of the Consolata in Mozambique: the choice, made from the start, to concentrate efforts on schools and the formation of lay people, Christian communities resistant to the “storms” which have been unleashed on the population for more than 30 years: war of independence, nationalization of structures, civil war, natural disasters … Most of the leaders who today guide the destiny of the country have given up Catholic schools. . The Mozambican Church is asking today for new qualified presences, such as the direction of diocesan seminaries and the formation of the local clergy “.
This is what Father Ayres Osmarin, missionary of the Consolata, reports in an interview with Agenzia Fides, speaking of the commitment and the challenges that the religious belonging to the congregation founded by Blessed Giuseppe Allamano face every day. in this African country.
“In Nampula, for example, there are 40 parishes – explains Fr. Ayres – there are 36 diocesan priests and 12 religious. They are very large parishes, it can even be 100 kilometers between one and the other, so the priests try to do the best they can in the midst of enormous difficulties. In addition – he points out – there is a very large young population here: in 2020, the second National Youth Day should have been celebrated in Nampula, which was canceled due to the spread of Covid19 “. religious note: “young people have few job prospects, even this is perhaps one of the causes of the war in the neighboring region of Pemba and Cabo Delgado, and therefore it is certainly a challenge for our church, and at the same time it is a source of future and hope for families and for all of us “. The commitment of the missionaries of the Consolata in Mozambique for evangelization also involves social and economic development projects: “In recent years – says Father Ayers – we have restructured the premises of the old seminary. , and this has enabled us to obtain the necessary authorizations to open a bilingual secondary school where pupils, aged 12 to 17, can be trained in Portuguese and English ”.
As part of an initiative to improve the standard of living and employment conditions of the assisted community in Nova Mambone, missionaries from Consolata operate a salt marsh. “It has 33 permanent workers – reports the priest – to which are added about sixty during the salt harvest period which generally extends from April to December. Thus, around 93 people and their families will be able to benefit from the project ”. The saline is a fundamental activity for the local economic and social fabric, both directly for the workers employed in the saline and, indirectly, for the related activities that it generates: “Thanks also to the help of the local community – he specifies – the missionaries put forward a library for the students of the local schools, support for the payment of tuition fees for various students in the schools of the region including the children of the workers, literacy classes for workers, income-generating micro-activities of a group of women “.
The first group of Consolata missionaries arrived in Mozambique in 1925, disembarking in the port of Beira, in the south of the country. The first steps of a presence that has extended to many regions of the African State and whose action has greatly contributed to the growth of the local Catholic Church and the development of the Mozambican people. “The reason for the presence of the missionaries of the Consolata in Mozambique – he concludes – is and will remain the same as always: to dedicate oneself to the mission, to life, carrying the proclamation of the Gospel to the people”. (ES) (Agenzia Fides, 07/10/2021)