The 16th Plenary Assembly of SECAM was held in Kinshasa, DR Congo, from July 8 to 15, 2013, under the theme: The Church in Africa at the service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. Among the participants at the plenary were 7 Cardinals, 125 bishops, Secretaries General of the national and regional Catholic Bishops’ Conferences from Africa and Madagascar. The Apostolic Nuncio to the Democratic Republic of Congo, Archbishop Adolfo Tito Yllana, Cardinals and bishops from other Churches also participated.
Partner organizations including Misereor, Missio and CRS were represented. There were also invited guests from Europe and America. The Government of DR Congo was represented by the Minister of Interior, Mr. Richard MUYEJ.
This Plenary was an opportunity for the participants to discuss various issues related to the life of the Church and the socio-political situation in Africa and the Islands of Africa.
Cardinal Christian TUMI from Cameroon gave the opening speech. This was followed by lectures on various subjects, among them, the continuation and relationship between Ecclesia in Africa and Africae Munus, moderated by cardinal Laurent MONSENGWO from DR Congo; the role of the truth and Reconciliation Commissions in the light of Africae Munus, facilitated by Bishop Matthew Hassan KUKAH from Nigeria; and the socio-political movements in North Africa and the interreligious dialogue, directed by Bishop George CHIHANE from Egypt.
Cardinal Théodore Adrien SARR from Senegal led the participants in reflecting on SECAM in the light of Africae Munus, with a focus on strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities. The final conference focused on Motu Proprio Intima Ecclesiae Natura. This was moderated by Cardinal Robert SARAH on the.
There were also reports from the representatives of national and regional Catholic Bishops’ Conferences as well as messages of solidarity from representatives of partner organizations.
This Plenary Assembly adopted the strategic plan 2013-2018, consisting of projects on good governance, the common good, democratic transitions in Africa, faith, culture and development, and the Catholic News Agency for Africa (CANAA). The Plenary expressed a message of hope, faith and love to the Church, the family of God in Africa.
Regarding the socio-political situation on the continent, the participants at the plenary decried situations of the instability and insecurity in some African countries, citing the Republic of Central Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, countries of the Horn of Africa, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, Madagascar, Tunisia and Egypt. In the face of these socio-political challenges, the plenary made resolutions and recommendations, advocating for Reconciliation, Justice and Peace across Africa.
The plenary then proceeded to elect new office bearers.
SECAM’s 16th Plenary Assembly concluded with the celebration of Holy Eucharist at the Martyrs Stadium in Kinshasa.
SECAM’s Organizing Committee thanked the Government of the DR Congo for all the support in preparations of the plenary.
The bishops elected as new office bearers for SECAM include:
President: H.G. Archbishop Gabriel MBILINGI, Archbishop of Lubango, Angola.
1st Vice President: H.L. Bishop Louis PORTELLA-Marie, Bishop of Kinkala, Congo-Brazzaville.
2nd Vice President: H.G. Archbishop Gabriel ANOKYE, Archbishop of Kumasi, Ghana.
Other new office bearers include:
General Secretary: Rev. Fr. Joseph KOMAKOMA, Zambia.
1st Deputy Secretary General: Fr. Samuel de Jesus PAQUETE, Angola.
Meanwhile, a three-year mandate for the Director of CEBAM (BICAM), Fr. Yves-Lucien EVAGA NDJANA from Cameroon was confirmed and that of SECAM’s Director of Communications, Mr. Benedict ASSOROW from Ghana renewed.
Prepared in Kinshasa, on July 13, 2013, by:
Mr. Benedict ASSOROW
Fr. Jean-Marie BOMENGOLA
Fr. Jean-Baptiste MALENGE
Translation from French to English by: Fr. Don Bosco Ochieng Onyalla.