Your Excellency, Mr. Joseph Kabila, President of the Democratic Republic of Congo; Honourable Ministers of State and other Government Officials;
I bring you greetings from all the participants of the 16th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) that took place in your country from July 8 – 15, 2013. Those of us here are members of the Standing Committee; we represent all the regions of SECAM.
First of all, I would like to thank Your Excellency for sending your Minister of the Interior, Mr. Richard Muyej, to represent you at the Opening Ceremony of our Plenary Assembly. Once again, I wish to congratulate you and the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo on occasion of your independence anniversary which you celebrated on June 30.
Your Excellency, the President of the Episcopal Conference of your country, Archbishop Nicolas Djomo has informed us about all that you have done and continue to do to make our stay here comfortable and memorable. We are appreciative of this support and thankful to you. May the God Lord bless you.
The first time that SECAM held a Plenary Assembly in Kinshasa was in 1984, almost 30 years ago. We are in your country, once again, to deliberate on issues pertaining to reconciliation, justice, and peace on our dear continent of Africa. The theme of our Assembly is from the Apostolic Exhortation of Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI: Africae Munus. The theme is: The Church – Family of God in Africa in the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.
Your Excellency, SECAM is a continental organisation of the Bishops’ Conferences in Africa and her Islands.
The MISSION of SECAM is to be a sign and instrument of salvation and to build the Church as a Family of God in Africa. SECAM endeavours to preserve and foster communion, collaboration and joint action among all the Episcopal Conferences of Africa especially in matters of the spiritual and human development of the peoples on the African continent.
As you very well know, the Catholic Church, wherever she finds herself, promotes integral human development. We contribute in no small measure in the fields of Education, Agriculture, and Health. We also engage in conflict resolution, reconciliation, peace-building, the preservation of the environment, and the promotion of good governance and democracy in Africa.
Mr. President, we will share with you the fruits of our Plenary Assembly. Meanwhile, we would like to present to you, as we did to other Heads of State in Africa, a copy of our Pastoral Letter on: Governance, Common Good and Democratic Transitions in Africa.
We take this opportunity of our courtesy call to make a passionate appeal to Your Excellency to use your good offices to promote reconciliation, justice and peace on our continent as a whole and in your country and sub-region, in particular. Please rest assured that SECAM through its various structures is more than willing to offer its contribution in finding lasting peace for the good of the people of Africa.
May the Good Lord bless you, your family, your Government and the people of your great and beautiful country.
Thank you very much!
+ Gabriel MBILINGI
Archbishop of Lubango
President of SECAM