There exists an essential connection between praise and thanksgiving. These two are constantly, repeatedly and firmly joined throughout the Psalms which speak of the Lords’s goodness, his unfailing love, and...
134 Delegates from 46 countries in Africa met in Mumemo, Mozambique to reflect upon and discuss the Message and Propositions generated by the Second Special Assembly of the Synod of Bishops for Africa in Rome in October 2009. The theme of the Assembly was “The Church in Africa in Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace.”
In anticipation of the Apostolic Exhortation of the Holy Father, the objectives of the gathering were: To take forward the outcomes of the Special Assembly through identification of priority issues; to explore ways in which the different arms of the Church can collaborate more closely and to develop a plan of action for the way forward.
His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace in Rome addressed us on the theme of the consultation “The Synod of Bishops of Africa – a New Pentecost for Africa”.
The outcomes of the Mumemo Declaration were:
In order to move forward in the Spirit of the Second Africa Special Assembly and to enable the New Pentecost to become a reality for our people in Africa, we commit ourselves to the following actions:
- Where Justice and Peace and Caritas Commissions do not exist, these be established as a matter of priority at all levels.
- SECAM, through the national and regional structures of Caritas and Justice and Peace, will hold discussions within a period of six months over possibilities of and opportunities for working more closely together. Within 12 months, each national and regional structure will have at least one joint programme agreed upon and being implemented.
- Within six months, Caritas Africa and the Justice and Peace commission of SECAM will have developed a joint plan for advocacy on strategic, critical issues such as governance, peace building, extractive industries and climate change.
- Within 3 months, SECAM will create a task force to study the propositions of the Synod which relate specifically to women and make recommendations on how these can be applied affirmatively at all levels.
- Within one year, SECAM will develop a plan for improving effectiveness of information sharing between the regions and across the continent, in order that the institutions of the Church may benefit from good practice in the pastoral work of the Church.
They commended the Mumemo Declaration to the Church in Africa and her friends and collaborators around the world, through the intercession of Our Lady of Africa.
It is important that in the S.A.C.B.C. region we implement as soon as possible the recommendations of SECAM and IMBISA. As the theme is ‘The Church in Africa in the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace’ it is natural that the proposed actions will be directed at Justice and Peace Commissions at regional, national, diocesan and parish levels. The first step is for the local Bishop to buy into these insights that the Synod brought to light and then to proceed to ensure that those responsible for these structures are informed and motivated to implement in the local Church the recommendations of these two meetings. We need to mobilise experts – Justice and Peace, Siyabhabha, our Seminaries, Theologians, Universities, Marriage and Family Life organizations, etc in fact all members of the Church in our region to ensure the New Pentecost for our African Church. Benedict XVI said “Africa take up your pallet and walk the path of Justice, Peace and Reconciliation.”