DAILY CATHOLIC     Friday through Tuesday: Celebrating the "Communion of Saints" Special Issue     October 29-November 2, 1999     vol. 10, no. 207


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      Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we spotlight each member of the Conclave in alphabetical order. We find this necessary as our dear Sovereign Pontiff Pope John Paul II grows older, clinging to hope, as we join him, of seeing the light of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart with the dawn of the new millennium - the Jubilee Year 2000. How much longer this 264th successor of Peter has left on this earth only God knows for sure, but His Divine Mercy is evident in allowing him to be with us this long for he truly is a saint for our times, truly Christ's Vicar on earth in these waning days before the glorious Reign of the Sacred Heart, the Time of Peace, the Era of the Eucharistic Presence, the New Pentecost, the Second Advent, the Age of the Holy Spirit. What 1999 will bring we have no idea, nor does anyone else, but with John Paul II at the helm, we feel much more secure in knowing God's Will will be done. Nevertheless, we want to preview the future Pope whether that be soon or much, much later, for no one lives forever and eventually one of those prelates will be selected as the 265th successor of Peter. This will give the reader a better insight into the man whom the Holy Spirit will move the conclave to choose. Thus we bring the reader vignettes on each cardinal in alphabetical order gleaned from the Catholic Almanac, The Official Catholic Directory, Inside the Vatican and other sources.

117.   Cardinal Alexandre Jose Maria dos Santos, OFM

        Cardinal Alexandre Jose Maria dos Santos, no relation to the Fatima visionary Lucia dos Santos, has the distinction of being the first native priest and cardinal from Mozambique in Africa. Mozambique is a subtropical republic on the southeastern coast of Africa on the Indian Ocean where the Tropic of Capricorn intersects this land of central highlands and mountains that hug the coastline of the Mozambique Channel. He was born on March 18, 1924 in Zavala, Mozambique and taught by the Franciscan missionaries from Portugal in his village where he felt a calling to the priesthood. After studying at the Franciscan high school in his country, he traveled to Portugal where he took philosophy courses from the White Fathers in Lisbon. When he was 23 he requested and was accepted to the Franciscan Novitiate in Portugal in the Province of Varatojo. In 1951 he pronounced his final vows and was ordained a priest on June 25, 1953, becoming Mozambique's first black priest.

        After twenty-one years of various pastoral assignments in his homeland, Pope Paul V named him the new Archbishop of Maputo, the capital of Mozambique on the occasion of his country declaring independence from Portugal on December 23, 1974. As head of the See of Mozambique's capital in the southern-most tip of the nation on the coast, Archbishop dos Santos founded Caritas of Mozambique, serving as its first president. In addition he founded the Women's Union of Piety in Maputo on August 22, 1981.

        At the age of 64 he was honored with admission into the Sacred Conclave when Pope John Paul II named him Mozambique's first cardinal in his Consistoryu of June 28, 1988 bestowing on him the titular church of St. Frumentius ai Prati Fiscali. Besides his duties as head of his flock in Maputo, he also serves membership on the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and the Pontifical Council for Culture.

        Mozambique boasts over three million Catholics out of a total population of nearly 18 million, mostly Muslim. The Faith was first brought to Mozambique by Portuguese Jesuits in the mid sixteenth century. In the 18th century when Portugal's government expelled the Jesuits the Faith began to wane and from 1910 to 1925 went through a stiff period of anti-clericalism in southeastern Africa. In 1940 Portugal and the Vatican signed a concordat allowing the hierarchy of Maputo to be established but Portuguese politics interfered in the fifties and moreso in the sixties prompting a strain in Church-state relations for the missionaries were critical of the Portugal for their treatment of the Mozambique people. This helped open the door for Mozambique's independence in late 1974. Cardinal dos Santos today resides at Paco Arquiepiscoal, Avenida Eduardo Mondlane 1448, C.P. 258, in Maputo, Mozambique.

October 29 - November 2, 1999       volume 10, no. 207


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