AFRICA - The Bishops of North Africa: "Our Countries have also become places of immigration"
Rome (Agenzia Fides) - "Pope Francis’ appeal to go to the "suburbs" urges us to live the call of the Incarnation in humility, service and with hope" say the members of the Conférence des Evêques de la Région Nord de l' Afrique (CERNA) in a statement sent to Fides Agency, published at the end of their meeting, which was held in Rome from October 6 to 9.
The Bishops of North Africa, who on October 9 attended the general Audience with the Holy Father, recalled that Francis Pope encouraged them to "consolidate fraternal relations with Muslims".
During their meeting the participants shared the experiences that the individual churches in the various Countries of the region live. The lack of security in Libya "has meant that most of the religious communities called to work in public health by the Libyan authorities have been asked to leave the Country". The Apostolic Vicar of Tripoli, Mgr. Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli, said: "I never thought that Libya might one day live such a situation (...). For me it is a terrible suffering. Even if one does not understand God’s plan, I try to persevere in hope, with my brothers and sisters who have remained".
There are encouraging signs from other North African countries such as the arrival of various religious communities in the Algerian diocese of Laghouat - Ghardaia, the presence of numerous Franciscan friars, of the Daughter of Charity and of Carmelites in the Moroccan diocese of Rabat (that also signed an agreement with the Franciscan Custody), and the creation of the Ecumenical Institute of Theology Al Mowafaqa on behalf of this diocese and the Evangelical Church of Morocco.
On the issue of immigration, especially in light of the recent tragedy in Lampedusa, CERNA stresses the need to "move beyond basic assistance that remains indispensable in case of urgency, because one has to consider the phenomenon of migration in its entirety, its causes, its effects, its consequences, and to discern the right means to support the migrants". "In this regard we note that our Countries have also become countries of immigration, and not just the Countries of emigration and transit", the statement concluded. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 14/10/2013)
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