by Caritas staff in Maputo
There was a palpable spirit of hope and joy in the air as bishops from all over Africa assembled in Maputo, Mozambique, on Sunday to celebrate “A New Pentecost for Africa”, along with representatives from Caritas members and Justice and Peace commissions, Mozambique government leaders and members of the local communities.
The Pentecost Mass, presided over by Cardinal Peter Turkson, was held in the Pavilhao do Maxaquene, a large covered sports stadium in downtown Maputo. For much of the morning, this huge building resounded to the sound of drums and voices, united in an exuberant celebration of the Pentecost, which provides an appropriate symbolic start to the important business that has brought us all to Mozambique.
We have gathered here for a three-day follow-up conference on the implications of the Synod of Bishops for Africa, which kicks off today with a keynote address delivered by Cardinal Turkson.
The conference is being held at the Franciscan Convent in Mumemo, a village about 35 km outside of Maputo, that had to be completely rebuilt following devastating floods some years ago. The convent also houses an orphanage.
Caritas Mozambique has been keen to foster close links with the local communities so people from the surrounding area accompanied us to the Mass in Maputo, which was also attended by Maputo residents. In the afternoon, entertainment was provided by children from the orphanage and members of the local community.