Anastácio Sasembele – Luanda, Angola and Paul Samasumo - Vatican City.
With Covid-19 restrictions lifted this year, Angolans thronged the Shrine of Our Lady of Muxima, locally referred to as Mamã Muxima. The theme for the two-day annual pilgrimage was, “Mary, teach us to live joyfully in the family.”
To be like the Blessed Virgin Mary
The Bishop of the Diocese of Dundo, Estanislau Marques Chindekasse, S.V.D., presided at the closing Mass of the Marian pilgrimage. He invited the faithful to be like Mary, who was always obedient to the word of God. The Blessed Virgin Mary listened earnestly to the Word of God and followed it up to its ultimate consequences, the Bishop explained.
We must ask “Mamã Muxima” to make all Angolan families learn to live in peace, truth and justice, said Bishop Chindekasse.
The prelate of Dundo ended his message to pilgrims by calling for the reconciliation of Angolan families, healing for the sick, consolation for the afflicted, forgiveness for sins and the conversion of all people.
Need for a new future basilica
The Bishop of the Diocese of Viana, Emílio Sumbelelo, spoke about the need to build a new future basilica for Mamã Muxima. He expressed concern over the physical structure of the historical and symbolic chapel of Muxima, which was now showing signs of disrepair due to age.
It was also reported that the current space is becoming smaller for pilgrims. With increased pilgrims, there is the need to rethink and transform the Mamã Muxima Shrine.
An amazing story dating back to the year 1589
The Shrine of Our Lady of Muxima is located 130 kilometres from Luanda. The Shrine is considered by many to be the most popular place of pilgrim and worship in Angola. Every year, the Shrine attracts local and foreign pilgrims. In the local Kimbundu language, “Muxima” means heart. The name was given to the Shrine due to its prime location in the middle (heart) of the province. Muxima sits on the edge of the Kwanza River.
The village of Muxima was occupied by the Portuguese in 1589. They built in the village, a fortress and the Church of Nossa Senhora da Conceição da Muxima. The Shrine has been a popular place of devotion to our Lady from one generation to the next.
The Marian pilgrimage received a boost when Angola’s Diocese of Viana was created in 2007, inaugurating a new phase in the history of the Shrine.