AFRICA/MOZAMBIQUE - Beatification process for two missionaries murdered in 1985: diocesan phase completed

Tuesday, 5 September 2023 martyrs   priests   missionaries   cause of beatification  

Zobuè (Agenzia Fides) - "The Servants of God, Father João de Deus Kamtedza and Father Silvio Alves Moreira, were good pastors, they suffered with their people, they always sought peace and reconciliation. They presented their human and spiritual qualities at the service of God and humanity and lived their missionary ideal", said Msgr. Diamantino Guapo Antunes, IMC, Bishop of Tete, in his homily of the closing Mass of the diocesan phase of the beatification process and canonization of the two Servants of God, the two Jesuit priests known as the "Martyrs of Chapotera" (see Fides, 20/3/2023). The ceremony was held on August 12, at the diocesan Shrine of Zobuè, in the diocese of Tete, with the participation of hundreds of Catholics from all the parishes of the diocese, who took part in the diocesan pilgrimage to Zobuè (see photo). "It was a very beautiful day", the Bishop of Tete, who presided over the last session of the diocesan inquiry, told Fides. The tribunal consisted of Father Vital Adriano Conala, episcopal delegate; Father José Codiasse Alone, Promoter of the Judiciary; Father Angelino Augusto, notary and actuary. The Postulator, Father Sandro Faedi, was also present. The process began on November 20, 2021 with the swearing-in of the members of the commission of inquiry appointed by the Bishop of Tete. From January 2022 to June 2023, this commission interviewed numerous contemporary witnesses who knew the Servants of God during their lifetime and thus had information about their martyrdom and their reputation. After the collection of all testimonies, including archival documents, an extensive dossier on the life and martyrdom of the two servants of God was drawn up, comprising 1,500 pages and sent by the Bishop of Tete in sealed containers to the representative of the Apostolic Nunciature in Mozambique, Bishop Paul Anthony, who will forward it to the Dicastery for the Causes of Saints in Rome for further examination.
The two Jesuits were murdered on October 30, 1985 near their mission house in Chapotera in the Lifidzi in Angonia (Mozambique). Their bodies were found on 4 November and buried in Vila Ulongwe Cemetery the same day. Father João de Deus Gonçalves Kamtedza, from Mozambique, was born on March 8, 1930 in Angonia, in the province of Tete. He entered the Jesuit seminary in 1948 and took his religious vows in Braga (Portugal) in 1953. On August 15, 1964 he was ordained a priest in the Lifidzi Mission. He dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the evangelization of his people, first and for many years in the Msaladzi Mission and later in the Fonte Boa and Satémwa Missions. The Bishop of Tete emphasized that he was dynamic, intelligent, wise, hospitable, fearless, joyful, communicative and a great apostle. And he loved his people, their culture and their language. At the end of 1983, Father João de Deus Kamtedza was transferred to Chapotera to provide pastoral care to the Lifidzi and Chabwalo Missions. Father Silvio Alves Moreira was born on April 16, 1941 in Rio Meão-Vila da Feira (Portugal). He entered the Jesuit seminary in 1952 and took his religious vows in 1959. From 1968 to 1972 he studied theology at the Catholic University of Lisbon. He was ordained a priest in Covilhã (Portugal) on July 30, 1972. He began his missionary work in the Diocese of Tete, in the seminary of Zobuè and later in the parish of Matundo. In 1981 he was transferred to Maputo, where he worked mainly in the parish of Amparo in Matola. In September 1984 he returned to the Diocese of Tete and was transferred to Satemwa, to the Fonte Boa Mission and finally to the Lifidzi Mission in Chapotera. Father Sílvio was known as a free, intelligent, courageous and enterprising person who lived the hardships and risks of missionary life with enthusiasm and joy. He was kidnapped and murdered on October 30, 1985, as part of the long and bloody civil war that sorely tested the people of Mozambique and the Catholic communities. (S.L.) (Agenzia Fides, 5/9/2023)