Praia, Cape Verde, Feb 3, 2015 / 19:27 pm
At the beginning of the year, Pope Francis announced that among the 20 men he would make cardinal on Feb. 14 is Bishop Arlindo Gomes Furtado of Santiago de Cabo Verde, whose episcopal motto is "Jesus, the Good Shepherd."
Bishop Gomes will be the first cardinal from Cape Verde, a small island nation of Africa located 350 miles off the coast of Senegal, though the Church was formally established there in 1533 by Portuguese explorers.
Arlindo Gomes was born in 1949 in Figueira das Naus, Cape Verde, the fourth child of Ernesto Robalo and Maria Furtado, and he was baptized in August 1951.
He attended Sao Jose Seminary for secondary school, and then studied at the seminary of Coimbra, in Portugal. In 1976 he returned to Cape Verde, and was ordained a priest of the Santiago diocese.
Fr. Gomes served in several parishes, and from 1978 to 1986 was rector of Sao Jose Seminary. He then spent four years in Rome studying at the Biblical Institute, after which he returned briefly to Cape Verde.
From 1991 to 1995 he taught at the Higher Institute of Theological Studies in Coimbra, and helped in parishes as well. Then he returned to Cape Verde, where he was a pastor, a member of the National Board of Education, a professor at the National Police Training School, and vicar general of the Santiago diocese.
He has served as a professor of Scripture and of English, Greek, and Hebrew.
When the Diocese of Mindelo was erected in 2003 from the territory of the Santiago diocese, Fr. Gomes was appointed its first bishop. He served there until 2009, when Santiago's bishop retired and he was transferred back, to be bishop of his home diocese.
According to Vatican Radio, Bishop Gomes "is praised not only for his pastoral zeal but also for taking a keen interest in the pastoral welfare of Cape Verdean communities in the diaspora."
Bishop Gomes will be made a cardinal during a Feb. 14 consistory at the Vatican. At age 65, he is one of the 15 new cardinals who will be eligible to vote in a papal conclave.