Pilgrims to the August 1-6 World Youth Day 2023 in Portugal from Angola who have not yet returned to their native country after the conclusion of celebrations still have valid visas, Bishop Belmiro Cuica Chissengueti who led the Angolan delegation to Lisbon has said.
In a Monday, August 28 press conference marking the end of the Second Ordinary Plenary Assembly of the Bishops’ Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe (CEAST), Bishop Chissengueti, who is the Spokesperson of the two-nation Conference expressed the hope that the pilgrims would return to Angola before the expiry of their respective visas.
“20 young people who went to World Youth Day (WYD) in Portugal did not return to Angola with the Angolan delegation,” Bishop Chissengueti said, and added, “With regard to those who haven’t returned, it’s worth remembering that until September they have valid visas.”
The Angolan-born member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers/CSSp.) added, “Everyone is free to return sooner or later. They just haven’t returned with the delegation and it may be that they do so in good time, before their visas expire.”
He said that the situation of some Angolan youth deciding to remain in Portugal “is not strange, from the perspective of having found a better working environment or a better quality of life, because emigration is an integral part of the human condition and these would not be the first Angolans to stay in Portugal.”
During the WYD day, Catholic Dioceses in Angola and Cape Verde discredited some of the media reports that indicated that 106 pilgrims were missing from their respective delegations, terming the reports “exaggerated.”
“We would like to inform our esteemed listeners and also the public that the information indicating that 106 young people from Angola and Cape Verde disappeared from the World Youth Day is flawed by its inaccuracy,” Bishop Chissengueti said in the August 1 interview with Radio Ecclesia.
In a statement, the Catholic Diocese of Mindelo in Cape Verde decried the reports about alleged disappearance of the supposed 106 pilgrims, saying that peddling such information was likely to cause confusion.
“The news that has been broadcast in some media about WYD pilgrims from Cape Verde and Angola, allegedly missing, seems to us an exaggerated communication that sows confusion and unnecessary alarm,” read in part the August 1 statement from the Angolan Diocese.
WYD 2023 concluded on August 6 with Pope Francis telling young Catholics to not be afraid, a call that echoed that of his predecessor and founder of the international youth gathering, St. Pope John Paul II.
Source : ACI Africa