Sunday Meetings Start in Cape Verde Prison



São Pedro Ward Bishop Emanuel Carvalho and his counselors, Inocencio Lopes and Evanildo Jesus, and prison group leader Celestino Mascarenhas gather in Praia, Cape Verde, July 16, 2023. Photo courtesy of President Leonel Da Cruz, courtesy of Church News.All rights reserved.

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By Mary Richards, Church News

Members of the Praia Cape Verde Stake continue ministering to the Central da Praia jail — and just created the first official group in the prison.

The institution is within the stake boundaries, and members of the stake have provided hygiene kits and supplies to help aid overcrowding and other concerns. Now a new group with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints allows for Sunday meetings, ministry and other spiritual efforts to grow at the prison.

Praia Cape Verde Stake President Leonel Da Cruz explained that the group meeting at the jail belongs to the São Pedro Ward and is overseen by the bishopric — Bishop Emanuel Carvalho and his counselors, Evanildo Jesus and Inocencio Mendes. The group leader is Celestino Mascarenhas.

The first Sunday meeting was held on July 16 and included hymns, prayers and talks.

“Registers of existing members are kept in that wing, and they receive all support according to prison rules,” President Cruz said. “An important job occurs when they are released, because there will be an outside-prison follow-up to their reintegration to society.”

He told the Church News that this group — meeting for the first time in the history of the Church in Cape Verde — resulted from the ministerial work initiated earlier this year to address the prisoners’ requests. Many of them had even written letters requesting to be able to have Church meetings.

About the Church in Cape Verde

The Church has been officially present in Cape Verde since 1990. The islands are off the coast of the African continent but the country is in the Church’s Europe North Area.

The Praia Cape Verde Temple was dedicated on June 19, 2022 by Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles.

“To the entire country it will be a beacon of light and truth,” Elder Andersen said that day. “This house is a testament to the immortality of the soul.”

In March, Sister Tracy Y. Browning, Second Counselor in the Primary General Presidency, and Sister Rebecca L. Craven, Second Counselor in the Young Women General Presidency, held meetings in Praia where they testified to children and youth that they can seek Christ’s voice and live according to His gospel.

Copyright 2023 Deseret News Publishing Company.

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