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African Church Commemorates 50 Years of Growth

SECAM – “Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar” is celebrating its golden jubilee anniversary this week. Many senior African Catholic leaders participated in the continent-wide bishops’ conference expressing public pride in five decades of rapid growth and missionary expansion.

SECAM as a team brings together forty different national and regional bodies of Catholic Bishops in Africa. Fifty years ago, St. Pope Paul VI had done a papal visit to Africa at the same time on July 29, 1969 when SECAM was established, which cemented the continent’s growing influence in global Catholicism.

It was launched on July 29, 2018 and is headquartered in Accra, Ghana. Jubilee celebrations are being held in Kampala, Uganda. The plenary will run from July 20-29 and will close this year on same day of the formal date of SECAM’s establishment. It will revolve on the theme: “Church-Family of God in Africa, Celebrate Your Jubilee! Proclaim Jesus Christ Your Savoir!”

This great idea of the Church as the “Family of God” was cemented by two Synods of Bishops for Africa in 1994 and 2009. It has long been a theological cornerstone for African Catholicism.

The Church in Africa has exploded over the past 50 years. The general Catholic population has skyrocketed in these years. Not only this, the number of senior church leaders from the African continent is also mounting.

Father Joseph Komakoma – General Secretary of SECAM has mentioned in a press release which was held on July 15 that nearly 300 people have participated in the Jubilee celebrations, many wearing Church suits. The participants include local faithful, clergy and Church hierarchy as well as Vatican representatives and delegates from religious communities.

He further added that the celebrations will highlight the progress of the Church in Africa over the past 50 years.  The event will culminate with the publication of the ‘Kampala Document’. The document will narrate the pastoral review of SECAM in the journey so far and a guide for the direction the continental church will take going forward. Ten thousand copies of the text will be printed in English, French and Portuguese. The copies will be available on SECAM’s website.

Let us wish good luck to the church for their future endeavours as they progress for the platinum jubilee.

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