João Lourenço, who was accompanied in the act by ecclesiastical figures such as Cardinal Alexandre do Nascimento and bishops who are part of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé and Príncipe, stressed that this was a gesture not only for Catholics, but for the locality of Muxima, since the larger project involves the urban requalification of that village.
"It is an ambitious project that will give another quality of life to the inhabitants of the village of Muxima and will allow the Catholic faithful who make the pilgrimage every year to be able to do so in much better conditions", said the head of state during the visit to the sanctuary, located in the municipality of Quiçama, the most rural in the province of Luanda.
"It is a gesture not only with the church, but with Angola and the city of Luanda, as this will attract national and international tourism," he added.
The Muxima Sanctuary, about 100 kilometers from Luanda, is the largest Marian center dedicated to Catholics in Angola, and annually hosts a pilgrimage with hundreds of thousands of faithful.
José Manuel Imbamba, the new president of the Episcopal Conference of Angola and São Tomé (CEAST), said that this was a "long-awaited" moment and a "recognition of the Christian faith in the country", expressing himself "very happy" for the "concretion of this great dream that for over 30 years had been imagining".
The requalification project for the village of Muxima and construction of the Sanctuary also includes the construction of a medical centre, local administration, National Police command, school, community centre, clergy building, subdivision area for family homes and a campsite.
To be implemented in an area of 90 hectares, 40 hectares of which in this first phase, the requalification of the village of Muxima includes residential and commercial buildings, power station and treatment of drinking and residual water.
The project will also have parking for three thousand vehicles.
The Basilica of Nossa Senhora da Muxima, will be built in an area of 18 thousand square meters, with capacity to accommodate at least 4600 people seated, a public square with capacity for 200 thousand devotees and another five thousand inside the sanctuary.