The Archbishop of Angola’s Huambo Archdiocese has urged Seminarians in the country to exercise perseverance in their divine calling, striving “to be instructed by the Lord” amid challenges that they might be exposed to.
In his October 15 homily during Holy Mass for the solemn opening of the 2023/2024 academic year of Seminaries, Archbishop Zeferino Zeca Martins encouraged Seminarians to “courageously follow their vocational path to the Priesthood despite current challenges.”
“Persevere even in the face of various crises, from economic, social and family,” Archbishop Zeca said during the Eucharistic celebration at Our Lady of Fatima Parish of Huambo Archdiocese.
He added, “It is true and we all realize that times have become very hard and difficult in the world and in this Angola of ours.”
Times are difficult in Angola, the Angolan member of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) went on to explain, “because of a lack of truth and coherence, a lack of sincere love for others, a lack of a sense of the common good, (and) a lack of patriotism and civic-mindedness.”
In the Southern African nation, he continued, there is “a lack of priority in family, school and social education, a lack of everything that can allow us to live in harmony.”
According to the Archbishop Zeca, Angola is not a country, “where absolutely everyone, without distinction or separation, has the essentials, where everyone can count on the essentials, where the life and dignity of each and every one is respected, protected and promoted.”
“All of this, my brothers and sisters, is because of wrong choices, inconclusive decisions that come from the dryness of our hearts,” the Angolan Catholic Archbishop said in his October 15 homily.
He continued, “Dear seminarians, you have been chosen to be a sign of hope and light among your brothers and sisters; but you cannot be a hope and a blessing for the Lord’s people if you do not allow yourselves to be instructed by the Lord, if you do not allow yourselves to be molded by the hands of the worker.”
“It is in this unique, beautiful stage, full of dreams and enthusiasm, that you must sink your crises into faith in Christ more and more each day and constantly renew our initial yes, but at the same time a convinced yes,” Archbishop Zeca said.
He underscored the need for the Seminarians to persevere in their divine calling, saying, “Beloved children, the Lord is calling each one of you and he calls you without ceasing. Do not turn your ear away from God’s call, for you know that the harvest is rich and the laborers are very few.”
“It is at this stage that you must lay the foundations for the future of your ordained ministry,” the 57-year-old SVD member, who started his Episcopal Ministry in August 2012 as Auxiliary Bishop of Luanda Archdiocese told the Seminarians.
He went on to highlight pastoral gaps in the Southern African nation, saying, “We have parishes, missions and pastoral centers in our Archdiocese that are crying out for Priests and Missionaries.”
“We have specific areas and sectors of urban and rural pastoral work that lack a Priestly and Missionary presence,” he emphasized, and reiterated, “So dearly beloved children, do not turn your ear away from the Lord’s call.”
The Angolan Catholic Church leader also emphasized the need for Seminarians to “follow the Lord’s mandate, which is to give hope to people who suffer, so that you can be the hands that Christ needs to bless his people.”
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