BISHOP Lucio Andrice Muandula, from Mozambique’s Xai-Xai diocese, recently dropped by to thank Brisbane Catholics for their support via Project Compassion to help his country’s people recover from recent devastating floods.
The bishop joined with Federal MP Kevin Rudd and about 600 students and supporters at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Primary School in Coorparoo on March 15 for a Walk for Justice around the school oval.
Bishop Muandula said he was also visiting “to represent all those who are suffering” after the January floods in which almost 250,000 people had been affected, including an estimated 180,000 temporarily displaced.
More than 80 deaths have been reported.
The bishop’s house was flooded as well as the offices of Caritas Regional Chokwe, Caritas Australia’s partner in the region.
“But I’m certainly not suffering the way many in my country are,” he said.
“I’m not starving … even if I do not have a lot to eat, I have enough.”
Bishop Muandula had visited various schools in Sydney and Canberra before arriving in Brisbane.
At each school he had a message of thanks for the schools’ financial support through Caritas Australia’s Project Compassion appeal.
He said students had many questions.
“They will often want to know more about Mozambique,” he said.
“I explain it is a good place because God has made it for us.
“I also tell them our children do not have many chances as they have here.
“I also explain how life can be very hard at times – sometimes they have no food to eat, water to drink or any clothes.”
Bishop Muandula’s diocese of Xai Xai, situated in Southern Mozambique, along with the Chokwe District, was one of the worst affected areas in the flooding.
The bishop is president of the Mozambique Catholic Bishops Conference and was recently elected to the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant Peoples.
He has been working with Caritas Aust-ralia’s partner Caritas Chokwe in the aftermath of some of the worst flooding in Mozambique in a decade.
Caritas Australia, part of an international aid and development organisation of the Catholic Church, committed more than $70,000 in February to help those affected by the floods in the country’s southern Gaza province.
Bishop Muandula described Caritas “as a bridge between those who want to do something for the poor and those suffering”.
“Because it is not possible to bring all those people who want to help to Mozambique … but it is possible to send their money through Caritas, then we are able to build schools so some of the children can have the possibility to study or to get clothes and food for people,” he said.
Mozambique with about 24 million people has about 60 per cent of the population Christian with about 25 per cent Catholic.
As with many other parts of Africa, Bishop Muandula had good news about vocations.
“We have about 150 young boys at the national seminary,” he said.
“The problem is always whether we have enough people to support them in their studies and in other ways.” He said it was “very exciting” as he travelled around Australia to see “children are learning to share”.
“Jesus gave them a message to love one another,” he said.
“I am encouraging them to go out thinking about sharing and helping each other as He commanded.”