The new bishop of Angra, D. Armando Esteves Domingues, pledged to implement changes in the diocese, listening to the people, and respecting the specificities of the nine islands of the Azores.
"I will not decide alone. I will ask for the help of the Holy Spirit, but I will also ask for the help of the people, also of the lay people," he affirmed.
The until now auxiliary bishop of Oporto said he accepted the invitation "with a big smile on his face" and was expectant to "better discover" a land he had not visited for 36 years. "I will do my best to know and love the specificity of each island," he stressed.
When asked about the changes to be implemented in the Diocese of Angra, D. Armando Esteves Domingues said he dreams of a more "open" and "welcoming" Church, but assured that he will begin his path "by listening". "Changes? Certainly there will be changes. It is normal for there to be some, but it is also necessary to listen to the people who want change. Some have already spoken to me", he pointed out.
Popular religiosity in the Azores will be "one of the great challenges" for the Diocese of Angra, according to D. Armando Esteves Domingues, who expressed his wish to get to know better some local manifestations, such as the Holy Spirit festivities. "I see bread being distributed, I see love being distributed, creating bonds, having a feast. This is what Jesus did. Wherever he went they followed him, but why? Just for the words? Because there was celebration, there was joy. This spontaneity in life and in the expression of faith is a value that I would like to know better and to deepen", he pointed out.
As for the reduction of enrollments in the Angra Seminary, the prelate said that "new forms" of training are "being born", so he doesn’t worry so much about numbers.
"We live in another era. We must also look at the Church as capable of living and evangelizing in this post-modern world, where it is not easy to speak of Jesus Christ, but where He is perhaps even more important," he stressed.
The new bishop of Angra took office in January, in a closed ceremony, before the College of Consultors, having also been presented in a religious celebration in Angra's Cathedral, in which 17 bishops took part, including the Cardinal Patriarch of Lisbon, D. Manuel Clemente, and the president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference, D. José Ornelas Carvalho.
Asked about the wide participation of bishops in the ceremony, Bishop Armando Esteves Domingues expressed gratitude for the "strength" that he said helped him move forward. "For me it is a surprise. It moves me. [...] Today being a bishop is not easy, it means being the first to assume your own weaknesses and those of the Church," he admitted.
Born in Oleiros, district of Castelo Branco, Bishop Armando Esteves Domingues, 65, is the 40th bishop of Angra. Ordained a priest in 1982 and bishop in 2018, D. Armando Esteves Domingues was auxiliary bishop of the Diocese of Porto.