Representatives from partner organizations present during the opening ceremony of SECAM Golden Jubilee Celebrations cum 18thPlenary Assembly have lauded African Bishops for the tremendous work both in evangelization and human integral development.
Speaking on Sunday July 21, the partners who included representatives from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Catholic Relief Services (CRS), Catholic BishopsÔÇÖ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW) and the Catholic Agency For Overseas Development (CAFOD) have all promised to continue supporting the Church in Africa.
ÔÇ£Over these 50 years the people of Africa have experienced periods of great sorrow and suffering; terrible wars, brutal dictatorships, times of civil war, religious and ethnic strife, famine and natural disasters, some of which
have caused loss of lives. Throughout these difficult times, the Church in Africa has stood firm to proclaim the Gospel, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, defend the persecuted, thus bringing a credible witness, sometimes at great risk, to her efforts to promote justice, peace, the rule of law, and democratic governance,ÔÇØ read the message of H.E. Daniel Cardinal Nicholas DiNardo, Archbishop of Galveston-Houston from USCCB. His massage was presented by Most Rev. Timothy Paul Andrew Broglio, Military Ordinariate of United States of America, Military.
Cardinal DiNardo was also cognizant of the fact that in Africa the Church is growing faster in Africa than anywhere else in the world, something which he termed as an indicator of social and economic and human wellbeing.
ÔÇ£The Church in the United States joyfully continues to walk shoulder to shoulder with you. Catholic Relief Services opened offices in many countries shortly after they gained independence. We initiated the Solidarity Fund for the Church in Africa and look forward to seeing that the fund grows to assist in ever better ways with the future needs of a growing and vibrant Church. We are grateful for our partnership with SECAM,ÔÇØ he indicated.
Sean Callahan, the president and Chief Executive Officer for CRS echoed similar sentiments saying, the leadership of the Catholic Church in Africa has made a difference in these critical global challenges and in our time and that even when success alludes government efforts, the Church continues to be on the frontline across the continent, reaching the neediest and the most remote people by delivering effective development and lifesaving services while also assuring pastoral care.
ÔÇ£Catholic Relief Services is proud to join you together as one Church and supporting your endeavors as we put the Gospel into action,ÔÇØ Mr. Callahan said.
Rt. Rev. Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton and Chairman of the International Affairs Department of the Catholic BishopsÔÇÖ Conference of England in his message which was delivered by Ms Christine Allen who is the new Director of CAFOD said that the Church in England and Wales have been enriched by the presence of Africans from every part of the continent, and their contribution to British society is precious and much valued.
ÔÇ£I, and my fellow bishops, thank you too for the gift of your priests and men and women Religious who minister faithfully and creatively within so many of our parishes and communities,ÔÇØ Bishop Lang said adding,
ÔÇ£I know from my own participation in SECAM-CCCE meetings the importance of the work that you will be undertaking. I pray for a spirit-filled and fruitful gathering as you look forward to nurture and develop the Church in Africa and Madagascar over the next fifty years. You face many challenges but be assured that you do so with the support and solidarity of the Catholics of England and Wales.ÔÇØ