Agenzia Fides REPORT - On 12 July 2011, Archbishop Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, appointed Rev. Fr. Manuel Antonio Lopes Batista, of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) as National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies in Portugal for the years 2011-2016.
The new National Director was born on May 11, 1958 in Aldeia da Ponte, diocese of Guarda. He studied at the Missionary Seminary of the Divine Word in Tortosendo (1969-1978), he did his novitiate at Guimaraes and on October 4, 1979 he professed his first vows. He studied philosophy and theology at the Catholic University of Lisbon and obtained a licentiate in theology (1986). On 19 October 1985 he professed his perpetual vows and on April 20, 1986 he was ordained a priest in the chapel of the Seminary of the Divine Word in Fatima. After holding various positions in Portugal, in 1990 he left for Togo, where he was parochial vicar, pastor, director of vocations SVD, professor of liturgy, director of the St. Paul institute, treasurer, superior, regional treasurer of the region SVD Togo/Benin. From 2001 to 2003 he graduated in systematic theology at the Institut Catholique de Paris. Since 2003 he has been Director and Professor at St. Paul Institute in Lomé, head of biblical animation SVD in Togo, member of the priestly Counsel in Lomé. From 2007 to 2010 he was Rector of the Seminary SVD in Guimaraes, head of social communications SVD in Portugal. In 2008-2009 he was Assistant priest in the diocese of Braga, and since 2009 he has been a moderating priest in the same diocese and member of the priestly council. (S.L.)