SECAM Plenary Set to Officially Open Tuesday in Angola
CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 18 July 2016
The 17th Plenary Assembly of Catholic Bishops in Africa under the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) is set to officially open Tuesday, July 19, in Angola’s capital city, Luanda, with the celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the Holy Family Parish.
Most of the expected 150 delegates, among them Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, Secretaries General of Regional and National Bishops’ Conferences in Africa, resource persons, as well as representatives of other continental Bishops’ conferences and partner agencies, arrived in Luanda Monday, July 18.
Members of SECAM Standing Committee who had arrived in Luanda by Monday afternoon held their last preparatory meeting ahead of the official opening of the Plenary Assembly.
The agenda of the Plenary Assembly, the visit by Angola’s top government officials, the assigning of functions and logistical matters were among the issues this committee, charged with the function “to direct the affairs of SECAM between Plenary Assemblies” discussed Monday afternoon.
“There was a happy mood among the members who are all looking forward to this meeting where all Africa is represented,” Archbishop Thomas Msusa of Blantyre, Malawi, a member of SECAM Standing Committee representing the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA) told CANAA at the venue of the meeting.
The meeting is being held at Diamante Hotel in Angola’s capital city, Luanda.
“As Africa, we want to be more united. We are looking forward to having a common voice to common issues and to be prophetic in the face of injustices on our continent, defending the poor and the rights of Christian families against evils,” Archbishop Msusa told CANAA, making reference to the theme of the Plenary Assembly.
The theme of this 17th Plenary Assembly is, “The family in Africa, yesterday, today, and tomorrow: in the light of the gospel”
“During this assembly, we shall also be seeking ways of strengthening SECAM to grow against challenges such as financial,” Archbishop Msusa went on to say and added, “We hope to have a common stand on fundraising for SECAM including the annual statutory contributions, and to see ways of strengthening the work of eight regional bodies that make up SECAM.”
SECAM will turn 50 in 2019, having been officially launched in 1969 by Pope Paul VI in Uganda during the first-ever visit of a Pope to Africa.
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.”