African Bishops Commit To Peace As Burkina Faso Cardinal Is Elected New SECAM President

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At the close of the SECAM Golden Jubilee Celebrations and Plenary Assembly, the Bishops of Africa over the weekend, elected the Archbishop of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, Cardinal Philippe Nakellentuba Ouédraogo as the new President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

Cardinal Ouédraogo takes over from Angolan Archbishop of Lubango, Gabriel Mbilingi,  who has served as head of SECAM for six years.

Also elected as 1st Vice President was the Bishop of Umtata Diocese, South Africa, Sithembele Anton Sipuka. The 2nd Vice President is Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai-Xai in Mozambique.

Fr.  Terwase Henry Akaabiam of Nigeria was appointed new Secretary-General of SECAM replacing Fr. Joseph Komakoma of Zambia, who has equally completed a two-term mandate.

SECAM Final message: The Golden Jubilee has been a time of thanksgiving, communion and hope

In a final message of SECAM,  the new President said that the organisation will soon finalise the outcome of the SECAM discussions in a compiled work to be known as the “Kampala Document.”

“To keep alive the momentum of the Jubilee, SECAM will issue an important document, the “Kampala Document” which will help the people of God (in Africa) deepen their knowledge of Christ our Saviour and make Him known as the Way, the Truth and the Life,” the Cardinal said.

Cardinal Ouédraogo further outlined that through its socio-pastoral organs such as Caritas, Justice and Peace Commissions,  SECAM would continue to commit itself to the care of migrants and refugees, and to the protection of integral ecology. In the coming years, SECAM intends to highlight much more the socio-political dimension of evangelisation as inspired by Catholic Social teaching. This would be a concerted effort to accompany politicians and governments, in Africa, work for the wellbeing of their people.

SECAM remains committed to promoting reconciliation, justice and peace in Africa

“The Golden Jubilee of SECAM is a commitment to the service of reconciliation, justice and peace which promotes communion and pastoral solidarity,” the SECAM President said. He added that by standing united, the Church in Africa would be in a much stronger position to confront pastoral challenges arising from ideological colonisation, land grabbing, political and democratic destabilisation on the continent.  According to Cardinal Ouédraogo, these concerns call for a united front that will also tackle the menace of human trafficking, terrorism and arms trafficking prevalent on the continent.

He continued, “We entrust Africa and the mission of the Church to Mary, Queen of Africa; may St. Joseph, the Martyrs of Uganda, and all the Saints of Africa and Madagascar obtain for us a renewed zeal to follow Jesus Christ. May the Jubilee we have just celebrated be for us the springboard for a new life in Jesus Christ, and for service of the Gospel in Africa and the world,” Cardinal Ouédraogo concluded.

Vatican News

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