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Project of the Week – Angola

A Marian shrine for the Diocese of Mbanza Congo

Almost every diocese in Angola has its own Marian shrine. The country’s Catholic faithful show a deep love for and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary.

However, to the sadness of the faithful, the Diocese of Mbanza Congo, situated in a very impoverished region in the northwest of the country, still has no such shrine. And yet this was the very place in Sub-Saharan Africa that witnessed the first ever Christian baptisms and where the first cathedral was built, back in 1595.

It was in 2019, in the village of Bungo, part of the parish of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Kikudo, when Bishop Vicente Carlos Kiaziku laid the foundation stone for a diocesan Marian shrine destined to become the shrine of Our Lady of Victories. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated the already desperate economic situation and the construction work had to be suspended indefinitely. The Catholic faithful, who were already poor themselves,  could no longer support the Church.

Nonetheless, this project is very dear to Bishop Kiaziku’s heart, for he is hoping it will lead to a deepening of faith and a strengthening of the people’s Catholic identity in the midst of intensive activity by the many sects, who are seeking to win away followers. The shrine is intended not only as a place of pilgrimage but also as a centre for retreats and faith formation activities. In short, a sort of spiritual centre for the diocese and a place that will exert a powerful influence on the faith life of the people, by helping them to mature and grow in their faith. At the same time, as the bishop explains, “It is intended as a symbol of the way in which the faithful can journey with Mary towards Christ and go to meet Him together.”

We are proposing a contribution of $31,500 to support this project, which we believe will inspire renewed faith, hope, and love in many people, in honour of the Mother of God. Will you help us?

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