On 6 March 2014, Fr Manuel Ernesto was elected Suffragan Bishop of Niassa for the Episcopal area of Lurio and Zambezia.
Manuel is married to Laura and they have 3 children. They originate from Monapo, Nampula province where Fr Manuel was a bank manager. He then studied Theology in Maputo and received scholarships to attend the University of KwaZulu Natala and the Free University of Amsterdam. Fr Manuel has served the Diocese as a member of the Diocesan Standing Committee, Diocesan Administrator, Parish Priest and recently as acting Archdeacon of Lichinga.
Also present for the election were Bishop Rubin, Dean of the Province and Bishop of Natal (Niassa’s link diocese in the Province of south Africa); Gail Allen, Secretary to Archbishop Thabo in Cape Town and the Rt. Rev. Charles May, Dean of Johannesburg who also preached at the Ash Wednesday service at Messumba Cathedral.
This is a tremendously important step forward in the life of Niassa Diocese. The number of parishes and priests has grown so amazingly since 2003, that plans have been agreed for the creation of at least one more diocese.
Bishop Mark reports:
Since 2005, God has been working in a new way in the Diocese!
Congregations have grown from 250 to about 500
Parishes have grown from 20 to 30
Numbers of priests have risen from 18 to 45
Archdeaconries have grown from 4 to 5
Church members have grown from 30,000 to about 60,000
Mother’s Union members have grown from 110 to 230
From 1 staff member, a diocesan structure has been put in place
There is hope that this growth will continue, with God’s grace and help, for the next three years, and that our members will double from 60,000 to 90,000, with catechists needing to increase from 600 to 900.