FARO, D. Fr. João de
15th bishop of Cape Verde.
A Franciscan from the province of Soledade, he was confirmed and consecrated in 1738. He would only proceed to Cape Verde about two years later, integrated in a fleet from Baía and Pernambuco. Because he was a mendicant friar, he lacked the financial resources to pay for the retinue and supplies that every prelate tried to put together before leaving. He still managed to acquire an additional 1,600,000 reis from the treasury of the Foreign Council to pay the debts he had contracted. Having corresponded with the diocesan chapter of Santiago, he was aware that many of the capitulars were too incapacitated (too old or sick) to perform the inherent duties of their offices and dignities. In addition, others had moved to other islands in order to assist the populations there. The clergymen lacked appropriate instruction. In addition, there was only one parish priest or curate chaplain without a coadjutor in the parishes of Santiago, a fact which left the populations without spiritual guidance. He attributed this situation to the small allowances paid to members of the clergy, which hadn?t been raised since 1608, a fact which dissuaded Portuguese clergymen from moving to Cape Verde. Even so, this prelate was able to put together a considerable retinue composed of 2 Carmelites, 7 from the province of Soledade, 13 priests, 2 chaplains and also 7 seculars from his ?family.? The bishop and his retinue departed for Cape Verde with the fleet from Baía and Pernambuco in 1741 aboard the vessel Sebastião e Almas, which would have traveled to the Rivers of Guinea to ransom slaves. However, the vessel shipwrecked on the sandbanks of Casamansa on January 22, 1741, and many members of the Episcopal retinue died. The bishop was kidnapped by a Guinean indigenous chief in Jambarém. He was ransomed through negotiations carried out by one of the most important residents of the square of Cacheu, Nicolau Pina de Araújo, by the visitador Bernardo Lopes Martins and by the Franciscans from the hospice in the port. They paid 5000 cruzados worth of goods, which belonged to the estate of a previous visitador, António Henriques Leitão. The bishop recovered in Cacheu, but would die during the trip to Santiago in June of the same year. All the goods that he was bringing to the diocese were lost, and only three of his retinue entered the bishopric.
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Author: Maria João Soares
Translated by: John Starkey