The 17th Chapter of the Vice-Province of Luanda was held at St Alphonsus Seminary (Studentate of Philosophy), in Huambo, from 23 to 27 January 2023, with the theme: “Redemptorist life and mission in Angola in the light of the 26th General Chapter”.
In attendance were 23 capitulars (20 with voting rights), including Msgr. José de Queirós Alves, CSsR, Archbishop Emeritus of Huambo, who returned to the community in December 2018 after his time of episcopal ministry; and student Avelino Pedro Ezequiel, elected representative of the brothers in temporal vows. In addition to the 23, the Chapter had as an honorary observer Fr Noel Sottima Koutré, Coordinator of the Conference of Africa and Madagascar (COREAM), who had been invited to visit the Vice-Province and participate in the assembly.
In the opening Eucharist, the outgoing Viceprovincial Superior, Fr. João Pedro Fernandes, invited the brothers to make the Chapter a genuine encounter, welcoming each other as brothers and welcoming the presence of the Spirit speaking in each one. During the Chapter, a proper climate of frank, open, respectful, and fraternal dialogue was felt. The meals were also festive moments of fraternity.
The reports of the Vice-Provincial Government and the Bursar’s Office presented a clear x-ray image of the situation of the Vice-Province in the different areas, the challenges and prospects for the future. This facilitated the discussions and drafting of the Chapter decisions and recommendations, which were voted on at the end.
Before delving into the affairs of the Viceprovince, Fr João Pedro gave a presentation on the 26th General Chapter, having focused on the five major issues raised during the assembly and collected by the Drafting Commission. These reflections provided some light on the Viceprovince’s walk. For his part, Fr. Noel Sottima, Coordinator of the COREAM, presented the current situation and perspectives for the restructuring and reconfiguration process in Africa and Madagascar. Thus, he provided much help to the brothers to understand the steps of the ongoing process. He also spoke at other times during the assembly when solicited.
Another high point of the Chapter was the election of the new Vice-Provincial Government for the four years 2023-26. Thus, Fr. Celino Ndulo, 44, Director of Formation at St. Alphonsus Seminary (Philosophy), Huambo, was elected Superior of the Viceprovince. His Vicar is Fr. Armando Pinho Alberto. The other members of the Council are Fr. Agostinho Lumbangue Leão, Fr. Bento Katchingangu and Fr. João Pedro Fernandes.
Fr. João Pedro Fernandes, CSsR