Church of Se Catedral de Benguela

Church of Se Catedral de Benguela
On October 13, 1947, the figure of Our Lady Senhora de Fátima walked through the streets of Benguela. He wandered with that intention to attract new believers and to bring peace to those who already were. Enthusiastic, the prelate D. Manuel Junqueira and the then governor, Commander Zanati, swore feet together (by God and all the saints) that would build a great church dedicated to Our Lady of the shepherds.

Promise made on 1947, when the image of Our Lady of Fatima wandered through the shaded streets of red acacias. Today it is an architectural symbol of Benguela and important religious center. It was precisely 50 years ago, in 1967, that the Cathedral of Benguela (seat of the parish of Nossa Senhora de Fátima) began to take shape.

A few meters from the old temple dedicated to the same Catholic figure, which was across the avenue. The project was ambitious: a temple with a facade triangular, huge, modern lines in imposing features. Beautiful, simple and effective. Drawing attributed to the architect Mário de Oliveira. Construction began to change the face of the current Avenida Agostinho Neto, under the watchful eye of the memorable Father Teixeira, essential part of Benguela of those times and the first pastor of the Cathedral.

In 1975, eight years after the laying of the first stone, the Cathedral was half finished, half finished. And so it remained 40 years. The postponed conclusion of the enormous temple did not prevent the building from being adapted to fulfill its purpose. With the façade to be closed and half voted for the weather, the Cathedral it has functioned throughout this time as a religious center. In 2006, the church returned to being at the top of the priorities of the Diocese of Benguela.

Today, the Church of Nossa Senhora de Fátima is a pearl of religious architecture, not only from Benguela, but also from all over the country. Inspired at the Sumbe Cathedral (dedicated to another Senhora da Conceição, whose construction started a year earlier than the Benguela Cathedral), the building is marked by the triangular shapes that they repeat outside and inside, from the nave to the windows and other elements of the interior. The stained glass that surrounds it gives the touch of light common to the buildings of that time, and the feeling of spaciousness and freshness needed to mitigate the humid air and torrid sweeping Benguela.

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