Monday, 13 October 2003

Dakar (Fides Service) – The Plenary of the Symposium of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Africa and Madagascar SCEAM/SECAM held in Dakar, Senegal attended by 150 Bishop delegates of African Bishops’ Conferences closed in Sunday 12 October. Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples travelled to Africa to close this important continental event. “It is with great joy that I have come to be with you here in Dakar” the Cardinal said in his address. “First of all I bring you the warm greetings and fatherly blessing of His Holiness Pope John Paul II”. Cardinal Sepe, stressed the special attention with which the Missionary Congregation has always followed the Church in Africa. “I wish to express the profound communion of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples in the common mission of evangelisation. I pray every day for you and for the communities entrusted to your pastoral care.”
On the level of pastoral indications, Cardinal Sepe said “the evangelising mission is a major concern of the universal Church” and this presupposes in Africa a consolidation of the Church-family. “The Church in Africa is called to build itself on Christians who are adult and mature, authentic witnesses. These authentic witnesses are bishops, priests, religious men and women and also the laity”. In this regard Cardinal Sepe recalled the post synodal document Ecclesia in Africa: “The Church in Africa to be evangelising must begin with herself”. The task is not easy but every effort must be made because “there are many brothers and sisters who have the right to know Jesus Christ; and we have the right to proclaim Him”. Cardinal Sepe did not fail to mention the many challenges facing the Church in Africa: ranging from the spread of religious sects and fundamentalism to financial problems. “But despite these problems the Church in Africa cannot become closed in on herself; she must open to the dimension of the Church’s catholicity and universality. She is called therefore to evangelise outside the continent and I must say that on this subject the response is more than positive.”
The Cardinal ended his address putting a positive challenge to the members of SCEAM/SECAM “I offer you the proposition of the organisation of a All Africa Missionary Congress.” LM (Fides Service 13/10/2003 EM lines 35 Words: 410)