“The Church in Africa has been able to do what Blessed Pope Paul VI prophesied when he launched SECAM in 1969, he said, “be missionaries to yourselves”.
This was said by Most Rev. Charles Gabriel Palmer Buckle, Archbishop of Cape Coast, Ghana, on the sidelines of the launch of the SECAM Golden Jubilee Year, in Kampala, on the 29th of July 2018.
Archbishop Palmer Buckle said, 50 years in the scriptures is a very important time to celebrate hence SECAM was using the opportunity to Reflect on the past, reconcile with itself and one another and to renew commitment to Jesus Christ and His Good News.
As part of the major milestones of SECAM, Archbishop Palmer Buckle said the Catholic Church has grown exponentially in the last 50 years, from about 55 million in the 1970s “to now 178 million. From the 60s we had just about some 20 or 30 dioceses in Africa, now we have more than 400 dioceses, and about 37 Episcopal Conferences”.
“Also, in these 50 years many African bishops have risen to become influential members of the universal church in administration and the church has grown from receiving missionaries to now offering its own share of what it can do for the greater church in the whole world.”
He was happy to emphasize that in terms of human development, the Catholic Church in Africa with the leadership of the bishops have been constructing and managing educational facilities, health services, training colleges and also involved in social issues related to justice, governance, education, etc.
Archbishop Palmer Buckle in another regard explain that SECAM is closely linked with Kampala, Uganda because it was there that the dream of the African Bishops became a reality, “it was a dream come through as the African Bishops wished to work together, to discuss issues related to evangelization, challenges on the continent, to reflect on how to bring about human development, and also how to manage their relationship with other religious bodies and how to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ”.
In October, 1964, Blessed Pope Paul VI, canonized 22 Catholic Uganda Martyrs. A few years after that, he visited Uganda which was the first ever visit of a Pope to Africa. Whilst in Kampala, he met the African Bishops and it was during that period that SECAM was launched, on the soil of the African Martyrs.