The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) was recently held in Antananarivo, Madagascar. The President of SECAM, Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi, Archbishop of Lubango in Angola, reported that SECAM is an essential vehicle for African Bishops in fostering collaboration, solidarity and fraternity among the 37 Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar, as well as with the Bishops of the universal Church. Vatican News reports:
The Archbishop of Lubango in Angola and President of SECAM, Gabriel Mbilingi, says that the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) is an essential vehicle for African Bishops in fostering collaboration, solidarity and fraternity among themselves but also with other Bishops of the universal Church.
Blessed Pope Paul VI launched SECAM
Speaking on the sidelines of the just ended joint meeting of African and German Bishops, Archbishop Mbilingi described the encounter in Antananarivo as fruitful and one that served to reinforce the Church’s common mission in the service of integral human development.
Archbishop Mbilingi explained that SECAM as a Church organsation brings together Africa's Bishops in the 37 Episcopal Conferences of the continent.
SECAM was born out of the will of young African Bishops during the Second Vatican Council between 1962 and 1965. African Bishops wanted to speak with one voice. The establishment of SECAM was, therefore, a desire by the Bishops to build a continental structure that would put forward an African way of being Church within the context of the universal Church.
SECAM was officially launched, in Uganda, by Blessed Pope Paul VI on the first-ever visit of a Pope to Africa.
Church in Africa as a family of God
“SECAM’s vision of the Church in Africa is that of a ‘Family of God,’” Archbishop Mbilingi said.
Archbishop Mbilingi emphasised that during the Second Synod for Africa, in 2009, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI wanted this identity of the African Church, as a family of God, to have a mission: To be a Church at the service of reconciliation, justice and peace.
The Angolan prelate also spoke of Africa as a continent of hope, because it is mostly composed of a young population. The young people in the Church of Africa are the hope for the Church and humanity. According to Archbishop Mbilingi, this hope was best articulated by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI when he referred to Africa as “an immense spiritual lung” for all humanity.
Image: Vatican News