A new chapter began in Angola on Sunday with the inauguration of the Cathedral of the Assumption of Our Ladyo in Lwena. The celebration, which last several hours, was presided by the Apostolic Nuncio of Saotomo and Principe, Mgr Novatus Rugambwa, along with Angolan Bishops.
The inauguration of the Cathedral is being seen as a sign of rebirth and peace. During the 34 years of war in Angola (from 1968, the beginning of armed struggle for independence, to 2002, signing of the peace) social structures at all levels including the Church were very badly damaged.
Ans agency reports that the diocese of Lwena, which covers an area of 233,000 square kilometres, lived under persecution and violence for decades. Many Christian communities did not even meet a priest or a missionary for many years. They practiced their faith in total isolation, thanks to the bravery of many lay catechists - several of whom were killed.
When peace arrived in 2002, the local Church started a process of reconstruction of the Church communities. Mgr Tirso Blanco, SDB, Bishop of Lwena since March 2008, has promoted the creation of a diocesan preparatory seminary and the gradual reactivation of ancient churches and missions - many of which were built by Portuguese Benedictine missionaries in the colonial era. He has also encouraged the return or the arrival of many religious congregations working in schools, medical clinics and youth centres. A Salesian community has been present in Lwena since 1982 where four Salesians serve in a parish.