Rabat (Agenzia Fides) - The Church in North Africa questions about the African dimension of its Countries and its communities. This was stated in the final communiqué by the Assembly of CERNA (Conférence des Évêques de la Région Nord de l'Afrique) which was held in Tangier (Morocco) from April 3 to 6. "The faithful in sub-Saharan Africa are becoming more and more numerous: they represent between 50 to 90% of our communities", reads the document sent to Fides. The States of North Africa, "traditionally Countries of emigration, have also become transit Countries, but are also gradually becoming host Countries".
Among these "Morocco has chosen to turn to black Africa and to integrate the sub-Saharan Africans living on its territory: opening of borders and the multiplication of airlines towards sub-Saharan Countries, regularization of undocumented persons, sending children to school, care for all in public health institutions, Islamic religion courses for non-Muslims, the possibility for foreigners to set up businesses and to repatriate capital: there are many signs of openness of the Country to the south as to the north".
All this is a challenge and an opportunity for the Church in North Africa. "It is a joy for us that the Church becomes more universal, less European and rejuvenated", the Bishops said.
Several priests and religious of sub-Saharan migrants' countries of origin in fact belong to the Church of North Africa, a fact noted by the Bishops: among pastoral agents of different cultural origin, one must learn to know and have esteem of our diversities" .
The mission of the Church in North Africa is focused "not only on the spiritual support of its members, but also on the testimony of Christ's love for all, entering into a relationship with our Muslim brothers and sisters". "This is not easy for the prejudices and the reality of a certain racism", underline the Bishops, who, however, note how some of the representations of the Virgin of Vladimir, depict Mary who embraces the Child Jesus, with one white hand and one black hand. An image that symbolizes the future of the North African Church.
To emphasize the link between the Church in North Africa with the sub-Saharan Church, the next meeting of CERNA will be held in Senegal in late January 2017. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/04/2016)