“Our sincerest gratitude for your message of condolences and fraternal solidarity of yesterday,” said Archbishop Inacio Saure, the President of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique to Bishop Sipuka, the President of the Southern African Catholic Bishops’ Conference following the letter of solidarity by the SACBC expressing the deep sorrow about the murder of Sister Maria de Coppi in the Nampula Province, Mozambique.
“We remain worried about the priest and other sisters who fled and pray that they are safe where they are,” said Bishop Sipuka noting the growing concern the first attacks in Nampula Province on Friday, 2nd of September and the night of the 6th September. “There is nothing we can say at the moment to console you except to assure you that we grieve with you” assured the President of the SACBC. “We pray for you, brothers and sisters, in Nampula and Capo Delgado provinces and for the conversion of those who murder innocent people.
Responding to the letter of solidarity Archbishop Saure said as follows: With my heart bleeding because of another barbaric attack against poor, innocent, defenceless civilians on Mozambican soil, of which a victim was Sr Maria De Coppi, an Italian Combonian Missionary, 83 years of age, who spent 59 years as a Missionary in Mozambique, in the name of my Brother Bishops of the Mozambique Episcopal Conference, in the name of the Comboni Missionaries and in my own name, our sincerest gratitude for your message of condolences and fraternal solidarity of yesterday.
When I heard at 22h30 on 6 September the tragic news of the cowardly murder of a religious at the Catholic Mission of Chipene, Diocese of Nacala, I spontaneously felt the desire to say frankly to the killers: You are insensitive and truly ungrateful. How can you repay good with evil? In truth, Sr Maria De Coppi spent her nearly six decades as a Missionary in Mozambique doing good, seeking, like Jesus, to enrich the lives of the poor with her evangelical poverty. She completely immersed herself in the mission of service to the poor, the least in society, especially women. Her last battlefield was a boarding school for disadvantaged girls, involving the Church in Mozambique in the struggle for the dignity of women.
As the prophet Isaiah teaches us – God continues to appeal to us with a categorical imperative: Console, Console My people (Is 40 verse 1). I make these words of God my own. The people of Mozambique need those that console, those that help them to eradicate, once and forever, this diabolical wave of killings and destruction in their land.
Fearful of the speed with which cruelty is spreading in our country, we pray to God that similar things will not happen in South Africa, and in no other country in the region. We remain united in prayer.
Always yours in Christ
+ Inacio Saure, IMC
President of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique
The Letter Solidarity from SACBC below: