First Missionary Congress in Africa

First Missionary Congress in Africa Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania).  From 16 – 18 January the first pan-African Congress on Evangelization promoted by SECAM (Symposium of the Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar) was held.
The work of the first day centered on two presentations concerning the theme of Evangelization in Africa.  The first was a view in retrospect taking as a  point of departure the encyclical, “The Church in Africa”.  The second day considered the journey of the future.  In the afternoon there were another three presentations relative to the themes:  “Proclamation, Witness, and Social Communications” followed by group work and then discussion in assembly.  The second day was dedicated to the theme of “Enculturation” with two presentations.  In the afternoon, the theme of “Dialogue” was treated with three presentations dedicated to Islam, Traditional African Religions, and new religious movements.
“Justice, Peace, and Reconciliation” were the themes of the third day that was spent in presentations and group work.  In the afternoon, the theme of “Development” and “Self-financing” were considered.
The reflections of the 200 cardinals, archbishops, bishops and representatives from 37 Episcopal conferences focused on the most efficacious pastoral for the Christian proclamation in Africa and on the Islands, centering on the incarnation of the Gospel message and on the formation of authentic witnesses of Christ in the Catholic communities of the Continent
Participants in this Congress were: Sr. Ligia Aristizàbal, Sr. Rosetta Guarnierei, and Sr. Charlotte Mupfasoni, FMA of the province of East Africa (AEF), along with Sr. Orsolina Tachis, FMA from Mozambique and Sr. Mercedes Alavares, FMA consulter from the Sector, Mission to the People.
Thanks to their participation, we can excerpt some significant guidelines from the final document of the Congress for our Institute present in the Continent.
1. The need emerged to recognize that the Church in Africa is adult and autonomous.
2. An awareness that Africa needs small  Christian communities as the expression of a Church that is prophetic and Samaritan. The first place of enculturation in the Christian faith is the family and the small ecclesial  communities.
3. An emerging and diversified theme according to the nation, is the rapport with Islam.  To this end, SECAM has taken action in the various situations that are not always peaceful and has made the proposal to interact with the African Union so that the right of religious freedom may be guaranteed in every nation.
4. The mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace is important.  Justice and peace constitute the theme of the second African Synod and both need to be interpreted on the basis of feeling African and of the African anthropological culture.
5. The Bishops present at the Congress manifested a firm determination to progress along the road of economic independence and to oppose the savage exploitation  of natural resources.  A strong appeal was made to the international organizations present at the Congress, so that they will promote a formation for peace and development, listening to Africa and the Bishops.
6. In preparation for the upcoming African and Island Synod of Bishops, there is the desire to involve the Christian communities in a synodal climate by studying the Guidelines and offering concrete suggestions.   

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