The Community of Sant'Egidio expresses its grief and shock for the disappearance of the Emeritus Archbishop of Beira (Mozambique), Bishop Jaime Gonçalves.A man of peace, one of the protagonists of the Mozambican Church from the independence to date, he made contact with the community in the second half of the seventies, one of the most difficult moments for Catholics in a country with Marxist-Leninist leadership. Through contacts in Italy, with the community and with institutions and political figures, including Giulio Andreotti (Foreign Minister) and Enrico Berlinguer (secretary of the Italian Communist Party), he contributed decisively to the improvement of the condition of Catholics in Mozambique.
As Archbishop of Beira, in the early nineties he was, with Andrea Riccardi, Mons. Matteo Zuppi and Mario Raffaelli, a mediator in the negotiations between the Marxist government and the guerrillas of Renamo, which led on 4 October 1992, in Rome, to the signature of the peace agreement for Mozambique ending a long civil war that had caused more than one million deaths. He was president of the Episcopal Conference of Mozambique and a protagonist in the two synods on Africa. Sant'Egidio remembers him with affection for the friendship of so many years and countless meetings in the name of the Gospel and peace.
Peace in Mozambique »