SECAM Bishops reflect on pastoral issues

SECAM delegates gathered at Munyoyo Speke Resort and Conference Centre, on 22 July, entered into study sessions to appreciate the emerging contextual pastoral issues affecting the Church in Africa.

Aug 02, 2019

Fr Andrew Kaufa, AMECEA
As the Bishops entered into the study session, Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, invited them to appreciate their pastoral historical journey since the establishment of SECAM in July 1969.

The Cardinal asked the Bishops to bear in mind the challenges facing Africa from the messages of Pope Paul VI on the occasion of the inauguration of SECAM; Pope John Paul II’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Church in Africa, Ecclesia in Africa, 1995; and Pope Benedict XVI’s Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on Africa’s commitment to Christ, Africae Munus in 2011.

He urged the Bishops to ask themselves how much SECAM has moved the Church’s mission and to what direction from Pope Paul VI to Pope Francis. He further asked them to introspect on the message of Pope Francis concerning new Evangelisation in their local contexts.

“Africa has almost 200 million Christians. According to Pope Francis, this is already a big affirmation. However, as Bishops of Africa, we have to ask ourselves whether we are putting the Gospel in the hearts of our people so that Christ may live in us: preaching democracy, bringing out in us the culture of inter-personality and Christian transformation. Let us not abandon our vocation and indulge in politics. Rather, let us live the Christian faith that will allow us to live the life of Christ in accordance with the Gospel,” he said.

In her speech, Sr Teresa Okure, HCJ, made reference to the theme and invited the delegates to focus on Africa’s contextual issues bearing in mind Jesus’ words in John 10:10, “The thief only comes to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that you may have life, and have it to the full,” she said.

“The (SECAM Jubilee) theme has three elements: firstly, Church as family of God in Africa; secondly, celebrate your jubilee. Thirdly, proclaim Jesus Christ, your Savior. This implies that we must listen to God, who is Head of the family, how in the past 50 years, we have become members of God’s family, the body of Christ. It is a moment to ask how we have lived together in the most practical terms as a people liberated by God. Finally, let us look at how we are proclaiming the Good News, not just as Bishops and priests, but all of us, the baptised especially today as we celebrate the memorial of Mary Magdalene,” Sr Teresa Okure said.

Fr. José Luemba asked the Bishops to address globalisation and ecological challenges on Africa, particularly looking at the economic, social and political aspects.

“The ecological crisis is essentially a crisis between man and his environment. It is not only the production factor but also how we are taking care of our environment. There is the need for our people to appreciate that nature is a gift from God and that our responsibility should be extended to the love of nature. Man must be a pastor of his own and of nature, taking it as our sister,” he continued.

“Africa is experiencing political instability whereby the Church-state relationships and the role of the Catholic Church in politics ought to be scrutinised as the continent is experiencing an erosion of democratic dividends, leadership deficiencies, choice-less elections and monetising of politics. --Vatican News

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