Bishop José Câmnate na Bissign whose resignation became official on Saturday, July 11 was the first native Bishop in Guinea-Bissau.
“We hereby come to inform you that the Holy Father, Pope Francis, has accepted the resignation of the pastoral government of the Diocese of Bissau presented by His Excellency Bishop José Cåmnaté Na Bissign, this Saturday, 11 July 2020,” the leadership of the Episcopal Conference of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau announced in a letter dated Sunday, July 12.
Aged 67, Bishop Câmnate Na Bissign has been at the helm of the Diocese of Bissau for the last two decades.
Bishops are expected to submit their respective letters of retirement at the age of 75. Compelling reasons such as “ill-health or other grave problems” justify the offering of such a letter of resignation.
Local media reported that Bishop Câmnate Na Bissign resigned due to “health reasons, which would make it difficult to fully comply with the administrative commitments of the office of Bishop of Bissau.”
In the July 12 statement signed by the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau, the Prelates ask for prayers for Bishop Câmnate Na Bissign saying, “Please carry him in your fraternal prayers, so that the Lord may grant him good health.”
Born in Mansoa, in the northern province of Guinea-Bissau, Bishop Câmnate Na Bissign was ordained a Priest of the Diocese of Bissau, in December 1982.
Pope John Paul II appointed him as the second Bishop of Bissau in October 1999, after the death of the Italian-born Bishop Settimio Ferrazzetta.
At the request of Bishop Câmnate Na Bissign, the Diocese of Bafatà was created in March 2001, making the West African tropical country a two-diocese country.
Bishop Câmnate Na Bissign is also known for his efforts in encouraging dialogue between the different political and religious groups of Guinea Bissau.
Until his resignation, he doubled as the First Vice President of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA), a position he has held since 2016. He has also been the President of the Episcopal Conference of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau since 2017.
Meanwhile, Bishop José Lampra Cà who has been serving as Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Bissau has been appointed as the Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese.
“Together, we give infinite thanks to Bishop Câmnaté for the pastoral ministry he has carried out, with faith and obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ, Eternal Pastor, at the head of the People of God in Bissau,” members of the Episcopal Conference of Senegal, Mauritania, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau said.