SECAM, the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) is today Wednesday set to officially launch the African Year of Reconciliation (AYR) as it commemorates its 46th Anniversary since it was founded.
SECAM, the Pan-African Conference of Catholic Bishops’ conferences in Africa and Madagascar, was inaugurated in July 1969 in Kampala, Uganda, during the visit by Pope Paul VI, with the aim to promote collaboration and foster communion among Bishops’ conferences in view of enhancing the mission of evangelization and integral human development on the continent.
According to a press release by the Communications office of SECAM, the event of launching the AYR will take place at SECAM Secretariat in Accra, Ghana, beginning with the celebration of the Eucharist and followed by a reception “for a cross-section of people.”
The year-long AYR being officially kicked off on Wednesday will conclude on 29 July 2016 during the 17th Plenary Assembly of SECAM scheduled to take place in Angola.
The celebration of AYR was recommended by Pope emeritus Benedict XVI in the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus.
“In order to encourage reconciliation in communities, I heartily recommend, as did the Synod Fathers, that each country celebrates yearly a day or week of reconciliation,” the Pope stated in Africae Munus, 157.
Pope emeritus Benedict XVI tasked SECAM to facilitate the various reconciliation initiatives saying, “SECAM will be able to help bring this about and, in accord with the Holy See, promote a continent-wide Year of Reconciliation to seek God’s special forgiveness for all the evils and injuries mutually inflicted in Africa, and for the reconciliation of persons and groups who have been hurt in the Church and in the whole of society.”
“This would be an extraordinary Jubilee Year during which the Church in Africa and in the neighbouring islands gives thanks with the universal Church and implores the gifts of the Holy Spirit especially the gift of reconciliation, justice and peace,” the Pope continued in Africae Munus 157.
In a letter addressed to the Bishops’ conferences in Africa, the Treasurer of SECAM, Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, writing on behalf of SECAM President, asked each Conference of Bishops to put in place some programmes to mark the AYR.
“Each Conference, with the assistance of its Justice and Peace Commission is expected to kindly celebrate the “Year of Reconciliation” according to its own programmes based on the general theme: “A Reconciled Africa for Peaceful Co-existence,” Archbishop Palmer-Buckle reminded Bishops of Africa, on behalf of SECAM President Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango, Angola.
The scheduled celebration of the 46th Anniversary of SECAM will also be the second year SECAM is marking SECAM Day. On this day, local churches in Africa are expected to take a collection from the faithful to help sustain the activities of SECAM.
The collections are to be shared on the ratio of 75% for SECAM and 25% for the National Conference,” concludes the SECAM Treasurer’s message to the bishops’ conferences in Africa.
(CANAA, By Fr. Don Bosco Onyalla)
(from Vatican Radio)…