Since 2017, more than 1,090 jihadist attacks and armed conflict between rebels and government troops have claimed thousands of lives, devastated entire regions and forced some 850,000 people to flee. Several churches have been completely destroyed and several parishes in the Diocese of Pemba are left without Priests. Most priests and nuns in these regions fled with their faithful. They are now trying to continue pastoral work among refugees.
Despite the terrorist violence since 2017, the Church has never stopped being present with the most affected populations, giving a witness of love in times of war.
“We run and run, trying to hide here on the beach. There are shots everywhere. Whatever God wants, here in Palma… The houses have been abandoned.” This was a message sent to ACN during another attack last year by more than 150 rebels in the port city of Palma, in the Cabo Delgado region. This attack, one of the last larger ones, caused the death of dozens of people, further aggravating the climate of insecurity in northern Mozambique. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes and are now in need of food, sustenance and support.
ACN is on the ground supporting bishops, priests and Nuns. One of them is Sister Mónica da Rocha, from the Congregation of the Reparatory Sisters of Our Lady of Fátima. In a message she sent us, this Nun said that the displaced “are people with nothing, who are totally dependent on solidarity. They are empty handed. Refugees are the victims… those who, although they managed to flee, lost their family and possessions”. This remains one of our top priorities: supporting the suffering people in Mozambique!
Thanks to the benefactors of ACN, we can help Sister Mónica, all the religious, all the priests and all the people of the Church to be an expression of love in the midst of so much suffering.
Times are difficult, but these acts of love and generosity are indeed a sign of some hope.
The villages of Mweravale and Ramiane are now two places where the joyful and innocent voices of children can be heard, especially when it’s time for baby food. For many of these displaced people, times are of great uncertainty. Many want to return to back home and are waiting. But everything seems to indicate that peace is still far away… For Fr. Mário João “it is always a challenge to help”.
This is our mission to our brothers and sisters in Mozambique… we are the same Church that cries with those who cry, that is present with those who have lost the little they had and that rejoices with their grateful smiles. And ‘thank you’ is in fact the word we heard the most and that each one of these people wants to convey to all the benefactors of ACN: Kanimambo!