Sunday, 14 November 2010

Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops

Let us light a Candle rather than Curse the Darkness
The woes and tribulations afflicting most of the African Continent, namely, the ongoing conflicts, injustices, human rights violations, lack of religious freedom, persecutions, exploitation of human and natural resources, different kinds of diseases, poverty, unemployment, famine, displacement, brain drain and human trafficking, are sufficiently known and publicized. These, and I speak from experience, are caused by internal and external forces of hunger for power and an unrestrained greed for possessions.
The three themes of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace chosen for the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops are therefore both timely and urgent. This is indeed the crucial call to all of us to pass from talk to action. We are asked to lead our disgruntled peoples to cross the Jordan and enter the Promised Land flowing with milk and honey (Dt 27:3). In the Africa of today this means, sufficient food, clean water, peaceful coexistence, respect of human and religious rights. In short it is a dignified life based on reconciliation, justice and peace. Africa still has so many riches and values even in seemingly desperate situations. We need to strengthen the positive rather than repeat the negative, which at times, can be more oppressive than the actual problems themselves. How can we, the Catholic Church in Africa, do this? The following three committed Christian groups need our special attention

1.    Families that are truly African and truly Christian (AMECEA 9th Plenary Assembly,      Moshi, Tanzania, May 1986)
The family as the first and smallest nucleus of any society and Christian community is the first and indispensable school of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. For it is in the family that one learns the sense of belonging and identity, and the values of solidarity, sharing, respect for others, hospitality, togetherness, etc. (Instrumentum Laboris  #88)Parents and other members of the larger family teach their children on how to relate to other relatives, neighbours, strangers, elders, teachers, the poor and those mentally disabled.
Hence, concentrating our efforts on a deeper evangelization and education of the Christian family is investing in all the members of our laity. They in turn will help their local Churches to become faithful servants of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace in the whole of Africa and beyond.

2.    Engaging African Christians and Pastoral agents in the Diaspora
It is true that the largest number of refugees and displaced people is found in Africa. It is also true that many Africans are still trying to cross deserts and seas in order to reach lands where they think they will get better education, more money, and especially greater freedom. There is great need of pastoral care for these vulnerable groups of people. Our Synod must urge that the Churches of origin and the Churches who host them need to have much closer collaboration.
However, emigration of Africans has not started recently. There are now many Africans who have successfully established themselves in the developed world. If motivated by us, they are ready to make their contribution towards the improvement of life in their countries of origin.  We must not exclude them from being involved in developing Africa’s potentials. In close collaboration with our sister Churches in Europe, America and Australia we have to bring them aboard in the efforts to move Africa forward, both humanly and spiritually.

3.     Formation of Ministers of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace (In. Laboris, #s 54, 126)
If the African Family and the Africans in Diaspora are going to help the Church become “salt of the earth and light of the world”, then we have to make sure that a very effective basic and on-going formation is given to all our Pastoral agents.  Especially in this Year of the Priesthood it is vital that all the members of the presbyterate be fully aware of their call to become holy ministers of reconciliation, credible advocates of justice and faithful bearers of Christ’s peace.
I am sure that with the help of the Holy Spirit, the thoroughly evangelized Christian Family in Africa, the enlightened African Christians in Diaspora, and the well-formed Ministers of Reconciliation among Africans all over the world can bring about significant and constructive transformation both within and outside the Catholic Church in Africa and beyond.  Thank you. 
Abune Menghesteab Tesfamariam, MCCI
Eparch of Asmara, Eritrea

No comments:

Post a Comment