The President of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), Archbishop Gabriel Mbilingi of Lubango in Angola has described as unfortunate, a disgrace and a big scar on Africans the socio-political instability in various parts of the African Continent.
Africans, he stressed, have no excuse for the ongoing wars, conflicts and various forms of violence in the Central African Republic (CAR), South Sudan, etc.
In a homily on Sunday at the closing Holy Mass of a week-long meeting of the Standing Committee of SECAM held in Luanda, Angola from February 12-17 2014, Archbishop Mbilingi appealed to the people of Africa to “stop the killings and other forms of violence and to help build a continent of peace, reconciliation and respect for human rights. We are embarrassing ourselves with what is happening in CAR, S. Sudan and Egypt,” he added.
During the meeting, the First Vice-President of SECAM, Bishop Louis Portella-Mbuyu of Kinkala, Congo Brazzaville, briefed the Standing Committee on the precarious situation in CAR. He debunked reports that the violence and killings being carried out in that country were based on religious differences. “What is going on there is mainly based on the selfish and greedy interests of some politicians within and outside that country,” he explained.
The Apostolic Nuncio to Angola and Sao Tome, Most Rev. NovatusRugambwa at a reception organised for the participants at the Nunciature in Luanda appealed to the Catholic Church leaders in Africa to help find lasting solutions to the many challenges militating against the integral development of people on the continent.
During the week-long meeting, the Standing Committee, for the first time, had the opportunity to hold discussions with the African branch of UNIAPAC- (Union Internationale des Associations Patronales Christien) or ( International Christian Union of Business Executives). Both parties agreed to foster closer collaboration for the formation and strengthening oftheNational, Regional and ContinentalUNIAPAC in Africa. The bishops expressed their thanks and appreciation to UNIAPAC, Angola for hosting the SECAM Standing Committee Meeting in Luanda, Angola.
An excursion was organized by UNIAPAC Angola for the SECAM bishops and Secretariat officials to join UNIAPAC delegates to the Province of Zaire in the north of Angola. Under the auspices of the Governor of the Province and the Bishop of M’Banza Congo, they visited the production site of the Liquified Natural Gas of Angola. They also they made a pilgrimage to the site where the first converts in Sub-Saharan Africa to the Catholic Faith were baptised over 600 years ago. The climax of the pilgrimage was the celebration of the Eucharist at the Parish of St. Antony of Padua in Soyo with the participation of a vibrant community made up overwhelmingly of women and young people.
The next Standing Committee meeting of SECAM will take place in October 2014 in Accra, Ghana.