Italy – Archbishop Tirso Blanco, SDB, reaches the Garden of Heaven

23 February 2022

(ANS - Verona) - The Salesian Family and the Angolan Church as a whole are in mourning: Monsignor Jesús Tirso Blanco, a Salesian and bishop of the Diocese of Luena, in the Province of Moxico, died yesterday, Tuesday, February 22, in Negrar, near Verona, after a long illness. Mgr. Tirso Blanco leaves this land at 64 years of age, 46 of Salesian religious life, 36 of priesthood, and 13 of episcopate.

Jesús Tirso Blanco was born in Ramos Mejía, Argentina, on 3 March 1957. He attended the Salesian novitiate in Manucho, made his first profession on 31 January 1976 and perpetual profession on 24 January 1982, and was ordained a priest on 28 September 1985 in San Justo.

The year after his ordination, he left for Angola as a missionary with a first stop in Luena, where he would return as a bishop years later. During his years of Salesian missionary and pastoral service he was Parish Priest (1992-94) and Rector (1994-95) in N'dalatando, then Vicar of the "Sao Paulo" work in Luanda (1995-99), Rector (2000-07) and Parish Priest (2007-08) of the "Sao José" work in the area of Lixieira, near Luanda, and finally Vicar of the "Mamá Muxima" Angola Vice-Province (ANG).

For the ANG Vice-Province, he served as Delegate for Social Communication (2004-08), Vicar (2005-07), Delegate for Youth Ministry, Evangelization and Culture (2006-2008).

He received his appointment as Bishop of the Diocese of Luena on November 26, 2007, being consecrated the following March 2.

Speaking about his missionary life, in a 2015 interview with the Salesian Bulletin, he said, "In 1985, I asked simultaneously for the grace of priestly ordination and that of leaving as a missionary for the destination that had the greatest need. I had no preference: from Ecuador to China. At that time, the Congregation was committed to the Africa Project and I was sent to Angola... I didn't know much about Angola. I got myself a map. When I arrived in Angola, I was sent to Luena. The policemen asked me, 'But do you know where you're going?' So I learned that Luena, the scene of frequent military operations, was not a good place to live. But for me, it was the best environment to encounter God in mission, in communion with a new people who immediately adopted me as one of their family."

And regarding his diocese, which includes the whole province of Moxico, the largest in Angola, as large as all of Italy, located in the eastern extremity of the country, he observed: "My diocese shares the challenges and problems of Angola, exasperated by the enormous distances, the lack of roads and the scarcity of missionaries (and I mean clergy, especially local, religious and laity who are 'professionally' missionaries). Our diocesan territory needs God, but it lacks trained people to help the population become the architects of their own spiritual and material growth. This is compounded by distances and lack of communication (...). Faced with these challenges, the diocese has encouraged vocational pastoral care."

Monsignor Tirso Blanco lived simply and consigned himself wholeheartedly to the mission. As a Salesian and as a bishop, he focused on improving the quality of life of the poor, in education, in health centers, in the streets, in the reconstruction of churches destroyed by war.

On social networks, not surprisingly, many remember him with affection and gratitude.


ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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