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President Filipe Nyusi has expressed his sadness at the death of Bishop Francisco Lerma Martinez, Bishop of the Diocese of Gurue, in the province of Zambézia, who passed away on Wednesday afternoon at the Heart Institute (ICOR) in Maputo.
Dom Lerma, a Spanish national, dedicated most of his missionary life to Mozambique, with much passion and vitality, reads a press release sent to AIM. He was superior of the Consolata Missionaries and was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Gurúè during his term of office.
“This man of God, who departs at the age of 74, leaves not only the family of the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church in Mozambique, but all of us, quite dismayed. This is due to his active role in the care of the community and selfless service to Mozambicans,” the document reads.
“Once again we realise that we are never prepared to lose someone we love, but despite this harsh blow, we trust that Bishop Francisco Lerma Martinez now enjoys the Eternal Love of the Most High for the noble work he has dedicated to the well-being of his fellow men,” the document adds.
Nyusi said that Dom Lerma would continue to live in the memory and hearts of those who knew him, and with whom he shared his battles for the salvation of the souls of the children of God.
Bishop Francisco Lerma Martinez would be remembered with affection and love, he said, and this would help believers to continue to be inspired by their ideals.
Nyusi ended the message by offering his condolences to the family of the deceased and particularly the Catholic Church, hoping that they would speedily recover from their sad loss.
Pope Benedict XVI, on March 24, 2010, appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Gurue (Mozambique), Fr. Francisco Lerma Martínez, IMC, Provincial Superior of the Consolata Missions Institute in the Region of Mozambique.
Fr. Francisco Lerma Martínez, IMC, Provincial Superior of the Consolata Missions Institute in the Region of Mozambique.
Fr. Francisco Lerma Martínez, IMC, was born May 4, 1944 in El Palmar (Spain), in the Diocese of Cartagena. After attending the Diocesan Seminary of San José, Murcia, was sent to Rome where he attended courses in philosophy at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas and first-year theology at the Pontifical Urban University (1966-1967), continuing his theological training at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1967-1970), where he obtained a licentiate in Dogmatic Theology. He then attended the Faculty of Missiology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (1985-1987), earning his doctorate.
He made his religious profession in the Consolata Missions Institute (IMC) on October 2, 1966 and took perpetual vows on Oct. 2, 1969.
He was ordained a priest on December 20, 1969. After ordination, he held the following positions:
1969-1971: Student at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome,
1971-1980: assistant priest of the mission of Maua, in the catechetical center of Etatara, and parish priest in Cuamba,
1980-1987: Director of the Diocesan Pastoral Secretary in the Diocese of Inhambane,
1987-1991:Pastor in the Massinga Parish Mission,
1991-1996: Rector of the Philosophical Seminary of the Consolata Order in Matola,
1996-2002: return to the Diocese of Inhambane, to resume the position of Director of the Secretariat of Pastoral Care,
2002-2007: Director of the General Secretariat for the Missions of the Institute, Rome,
2007: Regional Superior in Maputo, Mozambique.
The Diocese of Gurue (1993), suffragan of the Archdiocese of Beira, has an area of 42,451 sq.km. and a population of 1,150,000 inhabitants, of whom 259,500 are Catholics. There are 15 parishes served by 46 priests (30 diocesan and 16 religious), 13 religious sisters, and 14 major seminarians.Source: Folha de Maputo/ Agenzia Fides
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