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  • 'I Choose to Love': Italian Sister Killed in Somalia on Final Stop Before Sainthood

    Global Sisters Report (GSR) || By Rose Achiego || 21 May 2018

    Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, an Italian Consolata Missionary working in Somalia, had no illusions about the danger of her work.

    "I know there is a bullet with my name on it. I don't know when it will arrive, but as long as it does not arrive, I will stay [in Somalia]," Sgorbati said in a March 2006 TV interview in Italy while on sabbatical.

    Six months later, Sgorbati's prediction came true. On Sept. 17, 2006, Sgorbati was leaving the Consolata nursing school she helped found within the children's hospital in Mogadishu; gunmen shot Sgorbati and her bodyguard several times. Both died of their wounds.

    Their deaths came a week after Pope Benedict XVI gave a speech in Regensburg, Germany, quoting a Christian emperor's criticism of Islam, enflaming anti-Christian tensions across the Muslim world. Two days before Sgorbati and her bodyguard were shot, a hardline Somali cleric told worshippers at his mosque, "Whoever offends our prophet Muhammad should be killed on the spot by the nearest Muslim."

    Sgorbati is one of eight people Pope Francis submitted to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Nov. 8 to further their processes to become saints. Others included Jesuit Fr. Tomas Morales Pérez from Venezuela and Pope John Paul I, who died after just 33 days as pope. Francis recognized Sgorbati as a martyr, clearing the way for her beatification, the step before sainthood, this spring. On May 26, Sgorbati will be beatified in her native Diocese of Piacenza-Bobbio, Italy, in a special Mass.

    Sgorbati spent more than half of her life in Africa, first arriving in Kenya in the 1970s and serving as superior general of the Consolata Missionary Sisters in Kenya from 1993 to 1999.

    Many people she worked with and served in Kenya wanted the beatification to take place in Kenya rather than Italy, said Sr. Joan Agnes Matimu, the current regional superior of the Consolata Missionary Sisters, who oversees congregations in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Liberia and Kenya. There will be a thanksgiving Mass on May 27 in honor of Sgorbati in Nairobi at the chapel where her remains are kept as well as honorary Masses after the thanksgiving Mass.

    According to a biography by the Consolata Missionary Sisters, Sgorbati was born Dec. 9, 1940, in Rezzanello di Gazzola in northern Italy. In Kenya, she worked as a midwife for 13 years and was also the head of the Consolata Nursing School in Nkubu, helping women in rural areas located far from a health care facility.

    Matimu said Sgorbati also served in leadership with the Association of Sisterhoods of Kenya on the team that helped create the Chemichemi Institute, a place for sisters to do academic, formation, and spirituality courses. It was important to Sgorbati that sisters have their own learning institution separate from religious men to fully realize their potential, Matimu said.

    Sgorbati was in Somalia from 2000 to 2006, founding the nursing school in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, to support needed health services in Somalia and give career options to young people who could otherwise be lured into joining al-Shabab or other terrorist groups.

    "She always looked forward to going back to nursing, so after her term [as superior general in Kenya], when she was asked to go to Somalia, it was like a confirmation of a desire she felt within her," Matimu said.

    She enlisted help from the Nursing Council of Kenya to register the Somalia school, which had been difficult to do because an unstable government left the country's infrastructure in a state of disrepair. When the first group of trainees finished, Sgorbati returned to Kenya with four graduates so they could pursue more specialized training. The hope was that these nurses with extra training could eventually take over the management and teaching of the fledgling nursing school.

    "We deeply believed that if we gave a chance to the young people, something different, they would lay down their weapons," Matimu said. "Sister Leonella believed deeply in that. She said, 'I know I am taking risks, I know I could be risking my own life, but I will do it for love.' "

    Sgorbati expanded on this herself during an interview with a TV station, filmed after a month's sabbatical in Italy and directly before she returned to Africa.

    "She said there was no problem of working with people of other culture and religion as long as there is respect for each other, for where there is fear, there is no love," Matimu said of the interview. "She said, 'I cannot be afraid and at the same time love. I choose to love.' And that was just a few months before she was killed."

    After she was shot, as she was bleeding to death, Sgorbati extended this love to her killers.

    "I forgive, I forgive, I forgive," she said, according to sisters who were with her when she died.

    Matimu said she thinks extremists in Somalia may have been worried about Sgorbati's success with the nursing school and worried she would try to convert the students to Christianity. Somalia is a majority-Muslim country.

    "Leonella never talked to them about Jesus Christ, but human values, natural values, respect for life, these things that are embraced in any culture, any religion," Matimu said.

    After Sgorbati's death, the United Nations helped move her body and evacuate the other Consolata sisters from Somalia to Kenya. The community has not returned to the country.

    The Consolata sisters buried Sgorbati in Nairobi. As part of the process of becoming a saint, Sgorbati was exhumed Sept. 30, 2017. Her body is now kept in the Flora Hostel Chapel in Nairobi.

    "When somebody is in the process of sainthood, she is declared blessed or venerable, she is put in a place where she is accessible to the people who would like to pray to God through her intercession," Matimu said.

    Matimu said Sgorbati was selfless.

    "Although her martyrdom came suddenly, Sister Leonella put the lives of others first," she said.

    Sgorbati is one of a number of sisters and priests who worked in Africa now going through the canonization process. She is the second Italian Consolata Missionary sister working in Africa to reach this position after Pope Francis beatified Sr. Irene Stefani on May 23, 2015.

    Cardinal Maurice Michael Otunga, the first Kenyan to become an archbishop and a cardinal in the Catholic Church, is currently a servant of God, the first step toward sainthood. He died in 2003 and, if canonized, would be the first Kenyan-born saint in modern times.

    To become a saint, two miracles need to be attributed to prayers made to the individual after his or her death. Because Pope Francis recognized Sgorbati as a martyr, she can become a saint after one verified miracle.

    No group claimed responsibility for the attack against Sgorbati and her bodyguard, but many believe the attacks were related to Pope Benedict's speech before the shooting and his mention of a Christian scholar critical of Islam. Later, Benedict apologized for his remarks, which he said "were considered offensive to the sensibilities of Muslims."

    Pope Benedict praised Sgorbati after her death during a general audience a few weeks later about how disciples must live in witness to Christ.

    "Some are asked to give the supreme testimony of blood, just as ... Sr. Leonella Sgorbati, who fell victim to violence," he said Sept. 25, 2006.

    "This sister, who for many years served the poor and the children in Somalia, died pronouncing the word 'forgive,' " Benedict said. "This is the most authentic Christian testimony, a peaceful sign of contradiction which shows the victory of love over hatred and evil."

    Rose Achiego is a freelance writer and radio program producer based in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Source: Global Sisters Report… 

  • Attempts to Legalize Same Sex Unions, Misleading Spirituality, among Concerns of Christian Leaders in Ghana

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 21 May 2018

    Christian leaders in Ghana have expressed concern about the abuses taking place in places of worship through misleading spirituality and attempts by “international lobbyists” to pressurize the government to legalize same sex unions among other ills affecting their country.

    This was expressed in a joint statement by the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) at the end of these leaders’ annual meeting last week.

    “We have observed, in the past months, that there have been strong calls and pressure by some international lobbyists on Ghana to consider the legalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights as well as same sex marriages and relationships,” the leaders stated in their communique shared with CANAA.

    On misleading spirituality in place of worship, the Christian leaders stated, “We have observed with very grave concern various abuses in some worshipping centres in Ghana in the name of spirituality, prophetic revelations and divine intervention” and added, “These happenings in the Christian fraternity discredit the Gospel and cause people to despise the positive influence of the Word of God.”

    The leaders cautioned Christians in Ghana against misleading persons in society, encouraging faith in the person of Jesus Christ and directed, “Christians and all citizens should cherish the values of hard work, patient endurance, moderation and contentment.”

    The Christian leaders met at Mary Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Airport West, Accra, under the theme, Unity with Christ and with each other for peace and mutual upbuilding.

    Below is the full text of the joint statement by the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC)

    COMMUNIQUE ISSUED BY THE CHRISTIAN COUNCIL OF GHANA (CCG)

    AND THE GHANA CATHOLIC BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE (GCBC)

    WEDNESDAY, MAY 16, 2018

    Greeting

    Dearly Beloved fellow-citizens, and men and women of goodwill resident in Ghana, receive warm greetings from the Christian Council of Ghana (CCG) and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference (GCBC) in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    Preamble

    We, the members of the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, held our annual Joint Meeting at the Mary Mother of Good Counsel Catholic Church, Airport West, Accra on Wednesday, May 16, 2018. We also held an Ecumenical Service to pray for Christian unity, the wellbeing of the Government and People of Ghana, and we reflected on the theme: “Unity with Christ and with each other for peace and mutual upbuilding” (cf. Romans 14:19). In our Meeting, we discussed several issues of both Church and national interests. We deem it appropriate as Christian Leaders to speak to and bring the following issues to the attention of the Government and People of Ghana, especially to members of our Church communities.

    Christian Spirituality in Ghana

    We have observed with very grave concern various abuses in some worshipping centres in Ghana in the name of spirituality, prophetic revelations and divine intervention. These happenings in the Christian fraternity discredit the Gospel and cause people to despise the positive influence of the Word of God. We are concerned that the role of Christianity “as the salt of the earth and light of the world” (cf. Matt 5:13-14) is losing impact as a result of the self-serving practices of some Christian leaders. We abhor such practices and call upon such leaders to tend the flock of the Lord faithfully.

    We therefore wish to draw the attention of Christians and the nation to the following:

    • No human person or object should take the place of Christ as object of worship. 
    • Christians should put their faith in Jesus Christ alone to meet all their needs even in times of difficulties.
    • Christians and all citizens should cherish the values of hard work, patient endurance, moderation and contentment.
    • We call on Christian leaders to intensify the faith formation of their members through teaching of the the Word of God in order to develop sustaining and sincere relationship with God, intimate prayer life and a life of selfless witnessing.

    Fight against Bribery and Corruption

    We commend the President of the Republic, His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, for the call to fight and sustain same against bribery and corruption. We welcome the setting up of the Office of Special Prosecutor and congratulate those appointed to oversee the operations of the Office. We, however, urge strongly that this campaign cannot be another lip service. We call for transparency and integrity in investigations to ascertain corrupt practices and demand that culprits be duly prosecuted in accordance with the laws of our country. All Ghanaians, especially Christians, are called upon to work harder to eliminate the evil of bribery and corruption, to cherish fearless honesty, probity and accountability.

    LGBT Rights in Ghana

    We have observed, in the past months, that there have been strong calls and pressure by some international lobbyists on Ghana to consider the legalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights as well as same sex marriages and relationships. We commend the Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Honourable Prof. Mike Ocquaye for his stance against the legalization of LGBT rights in Ghana. We call on Government never to be cowed down nor succumb to the pressure to legalize such rights.

    As Christians, who uphold the Bible as our principal guide, we consider same sex unions as unacceptable unions that our God frowns upon (cf. Leviticus 20:13-16). In addition, we state unequivocally that same sex unions are alien to the Ghanaian culture and cannot be tolerated or accepted. Our cultural values uphold the family system as an integral part of the survival of communities and the nation at large. Therefore, we shall not and cannot accept the orientation towards same sex unions and relationships as a fundamental human right.

    We, the members of the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, state that we shall resist any attempt, either latent or manifest, by any individual, Political Party, Civil Society, Human Rights’ Activist or Government to legalize LGBT rights in Ghana.

    We are however willing and available to provide the needed pastoral care and support to persons with LGBT tendencies in a non-condemning manner. We pledge to treat such persons with unconditional positive regard at all times.

    2018 Basic Education Certificate Examinations (BECE)

    We congratulate all the candidates scheduled to take part in the June 2018 BECE. We pray for God’s grace for each candidate and for success in the examinations.

    We call on the West African Examination Council (WAEC) to ensure that all challenges that had arisen in past have been dealt with in order to facilitate the smooth process of the examination this year. We urge the Examination Council, Invigilators, Parents and the candidates to take caution to avoid any embarrassment through examination malpractices.

    Free SHS Programme

    We commend Government for making secondary education more accessible and affordable to Ghanaians through the implementation of the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme. We are aware that the implementation is facing some teething challenges. There are incidents of some Senior High Schools in distress as a result of late disbursement of funds for food and accommodation facilities for the beneficiaries of the Programme. We urge the Ministry of Education to accept in good faith genuine feedback on the challenges facing the implementation. As stakeholders, we are ready for further engagement in the sustainability and success of the programme.

    New Reforms on Colleges of Education

    We welcome the efforts of Government to improve the quality of teacher training in the country. This move will convert Colleges of Education into Degree-awarding institutions as Affiliates/Satellite Campuses of some Public Universities for a transition period of four years.

    While we praise Government for this reform, we wish to state that many of the Colleges of Education in Ghana are owned by the Churches. We repeat our earlier call for a comprehensive consultation and participation in the implementation of the new reforms. We cannot abandon Church-State partnership in education at this critical time. We state that:

    • Government should continue to dialogue with the Churches that have Colleges of Education for mutual understanding on the affiliation of the Colleges to the Public Universities.
    • Government should facilitate and even expedite the process of approval for the Presidential Charter for Universities owned by the Churches to enable them have the capacity to take charge of and manage their Colleges of Education as affiliate-institutions of such Universities.

    Illegal Mining (Galamsay)

    We have taken note of various efforts by some individuals, members of the Security Services, Politicians and Chiefs to thwart the fight against illegal mining. We demand that Government, the Media Coalition against Galamsay, concerned Agencies and Institutions, and all Ghanaians should be bold and courageous to sustain the campaign and deal ruthlessly with the perpetrators of the menace. Our sources of livelihood (water bodies, farmlands and livestock) are being sacrificed for selfish interests. While we ask God to change the hearts of these nation wreckers, we shall not tolerate such sinful acts against nature and posterity.

    We urge all Christian leaders to preach against the perpetration of the menace. Let us protect our common home - our water bodies and lands -  from collapse and degradation.

    Carnage on our Roads

    Another very worrying concern is the spate of accidents and the resultant carnage on our roads.  We cannot but agree that the best and most valuable asset of any nation is its human capital.  We therefore plead with all who must ensure safety on our roads; the Motor and Traffic Police and Guards, drivers of both public and private vehicles, the DVLA, mechanics, pedestrians and, indeed, all road users in this country must endeavour to respect the rules and regulations regarding vehicular traffic, and maintain their vehicles to curb very drastically the high rate of accidents and deaths on our roads.  Every human life is precious to God the Creator and is an asset to the person, to the society and to humanity as a whole. 

    Conclusion

    Finally, we plead with the Government, Members of Parliament, Politicians and the Media to be decorous, guarded and timely in providing relevant information to Ghanaians on policies, initiatives and international engagements. The integrity of Ghanaians should never be taken for granted. We urge everyone to promote the peace, stability and development of our country Ghana.

    We, your Christian leaders, renew our commitment to demonstrate true Christian leadership in all spheres of our lives. We encourage you to pray for us and support the spread of the Gospel especially in your life of witnessing. Be assured that we shall continue to provide support for the Government and the People of Ghana through our public education, advocacy and dialogue, social interventions and relentless prayer for the peace, stability and development of Ghana. We ask God to enkindle in us all the gift of the Holy Spirit and make us truly Christ-like.

    signed                                                                         signed

    REV. DR. CYRIL G. K. FAYOSE                REV. FR. LAZARUS ANONDEE

    General Secretary, CCG                                             Secretary General, GCBC

     

    signed                                                                         signed

    RT. REV. DR. SETH S. AGIDI                                 MOST REV. PHILIP NAAMEH     

    Chairman, CCG                                                          President, GCBC

  • Spiritan Missionaries in Ethiopia Spearheading Establishment of Chaplaincy to African Union

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 21 May 2018

    Members of the Missionary Congregation of the Spiritans, also known as the Holy Ghost Father, ministering in Ethiopia are spearheading the establishment of the Chaplaincy to the African Union (AU) in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa.

    The Chaplaincy project involves reaching out to the staff and delegates of the African Union Commission (AUC) and others in the neighborhood with pastoral and spiritual care and the strengthening of “the Spiritan humanitarian services through social development activities and provide self-sustenance for the church activities.”

    According to the Spiritan Provincial Superior of Ethiopia, Father Dennis Bukenya, the fundraising initiative toward the realization of the main infrastructure of the project was officially launched in March 2018 by the Archbishop of Addis Ababa, Berhaneyesus D. Cardinal Souraphiel.

    The details of this Chaplaincy project whose main objective is “to establish a Chapel, Fathers’ residence, Social and Pastoral office complex and Self-sustenance project” are contained in a Concept Note sent to CANAA Monday, May 21.

    Set to kick off in 2019, the project is to be implemented in three phases with the first phase consisting the Chapel and the foundation of the entire structure.

    “Presently, our fervent prayer is to raise Euro 1 Million for Phase one i.e. 2018 – 2019 (2 years),” the Concept Note of the project has it in part.

    Below is the full text of the Concept Note with details of the Chaplaincy project being established 

    Establishing A Chaplaincy to The African Union Commission in Addis Ababa: Concept Note

    This Chaplaincy project will offer pastoral/spiritual services, strengthen the Spiritan humanitarian services through social development activities and provide self-sustenance for the church activities.

    Location of the project: Adjacent to AUC, Opposite New AU Presidential Hotel in Addis Ababa, at Kera, Woreda 06, Plot 069.

    Main Objective: To establish a Chapel, Fathers’ residence, Social & Pastoral office complex and Self-sustenance project.

    Specific Objectives

    1. To provide pastoral services of chaplaincy to the staff and delegates of African Union Commission and the people in the surroundings.

    2. To strengthen the collaboration, partnership and relationship between the Church and African Union Commission.

    3. To have a well-established base for the Spiritan pastoral and social outreach to the underprivileged communities.

    4. To provide means of self-sustenance for the Church activities.

    Project Implementation

    The project shall be implemented in phases; Phase one: the Chapel and the foundation. Phase two: Fathers accommodation and office complex. Phase three: Facilities for Mission sustenance. Presently, our fervent prayer is to raise Euro 1 Million for Phase one i.e. 2018 – 2019 (2 years) Date of starting the project: 2019, Date of completion Phase one 2020 (2 years). The whole structure has to meet the government requirements i.e. minimum G+10.

    Project description

    The overarching vocation of the Church is to prepare people for the Kingdom of God; but also, to support global, continental and national institutions where economic, social and political decisions are conceived and taken for the well-being of all God’s creatures. Hence the readiness of our Congregation to collaborate with the African Union Commission  in Addis Ababa in the quest to achieve the sustainable development goals of the continent in line with the social teachings of the Catholic church.

    The Church continues to offer the Spiritual, humanitarian and social development services to all the communities without discrimination wherever the need arises i.e. the Church endeavors are always in line with the philosophy of leaving no one behind in the promotion of human dignity and the common good. Apart from pastoral services, the project shall offer other services including; administration, advocacy, Justice  & Peace, Care for Immigrants, skills acquisition and other social development services linking and giving support to our mission areas of Borana, Gamo Gofa and Hamer in the South of Ethiopia.

    Mobilization of resources and funding strategy:

    v  Continental champions: Heads of State ( who would graciously accept to voice out our appeal for the building of a center of worship and inter-faith communion in support of the success of the work of the African Union and the continent; We plan to approach the president of Equatorial Guinea and other heads of states.

    v  Diplomatic champions: Ambassadors, AU Commissioners, and UN Chief executives in Ethiopia who are willing to help keep the idea of the project alive in the minds of the potential donors in Ethiopia and in their respective countries;

    v  Spiritan Friends: these are the Faithful across the various international organizations in Ethiopia, across the various Church communities in Addis Ababa and other places in the country plus individuals who have already started contributing their ‘widow’s mites’ toward the realization of the project;

    v   Spiritan Friends International: these networks shall, hopefully, be established by the Friends and Church communities in Africa and other continents (USA, Europe, Asia) to mobilize support for the project.

    v  Corporate champions: these include; business enterprises, companies and investors who wish to contribute and give generously their support to this project.

    Our strategy is inclusive and open to all categories of people here in Ethiopia and abroad. Any support is appreciated whether material, technical or financial. We call upon your partnership with us to support the realization of this project. Your contribution to this project shall be acknowledged and you shall always remain in our masses and prayers. Names of all the funders shall be written in our Golden book and the Champions of the project shall be inscribed on one section of the project on marble stone as to remain part of the project forever.

    Achievements: A land of 1380 square meters has been secured. Architectural design is done. HE Cardinal Berhaneyesus launched a fundraising program on 10/3/2018. There is an ongoing local network of fundraising that has been put in place and is expanding. Plans for fundraising abroad are under way. 

    Implementers of the Project: Religious congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans) under the auspices of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Community at AUC,  with the support of members of other religious communities and the professionals. The committee for development of the property and management structure for the fundraising have been put in place. Tools for transparency and accountability are our priority.

    About Spiritan Congregation in Ethiopia

    The Spiritan Mission in Ethiopia started in 1972 and is mainly based among the marginalized pastoral tribes in the South namely; Borana, Hamer and Gamo Gofa. The Spiritan mission activities include; Educational, Pastoral and Social development works.

    Key Values of the Spiritans

    a. Living the faith with respect and openness towards other people’s culture, customs and beliefs. b. Solidarity with the most disadvantaged c. Professionalism by working to the highest possible standards in line with the best practices d. Working in collaboration with the Government, churches, communities and donors.

    Spiritan Motto: One Heart and One Soul (Cor Unum et anima una)

    Spiritan Vision: A society where everyone, especially the disadvantaged, have life and have it to the full.

    Spiritan Mission statement: The proclamation of the Good News of the Kingdom of God, especially to the most disadvantaged through pastoral and development work

    This project shall serve as source for ‘spiritual reawakening’ for all Christians and Faithfull in general. It is as well a Centre for the planning and management of all the social development and welfare programs that the congregation shall organize from Addis Ababa for the benefit of the regional projects in Borana, Gamo Gofa, Hamer in the South and for the underprivileged people in Addis Ababa.

  • Representatives of Church Leaders in Africa and Germany to Meet in Madagascar on “strategizing pastoral activities”

    CANAA || By Father Don Bosco Onyalla, Nairobi || 21 May 2018

    A seminar bringing together representatives of the Catholic Bishops in Africa and their counterparts from Germany has been planned beginning this week in the largest island in the Indian Ocean, Madagascar, focusing on evangelization strategies in African and in Germany.

    The week-long seminar, which is the eighth of its kind, will see Church leaders from Africa and Germany discuss “Integral Human Development as a paradigm for strategizing pastoral activities” in Antananarivo, the capital city Madagascar from Tuesday, May 22 through Monday, May 28, 2018.

    The details of the seminar are contained in a Press Release from the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) sent to CANAA Monday, May 21.

    According to the Press Release, “Meetings between the German and African Bishops, represented by the Standing Committee, have become a tradition since 1982 ... The meetings have contributed to the deepening and intensification of the relationship between the local Churches in Africa and the Church in Germany.”

    The President of the Republic, the Apostolic Nuncio, the German Ambassador, and the Catholic Bishops in Madagascar who form the Malagash Epsicopal Conference are among the dignitaries the two delegations are expected to meet while in Madagascar.

    Below is the full text of the Press Release by SECAM Secretariat in Accra, Ghana.

    PRESS RELEASE: Monday, 21st May 2018, Accra, Ghana

    SECAM MEETS WITH A DELEGATION OF THE GERMAN BISHOPS’ CONFERENCE IN MADAGASCAR

    Members of the Standing Committee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) and the German Bishops’ Conference (GBC,) will from the 22-28 of May, 2018 meet in Antananarivo, Madagascar, for a Seminar centred mainly on Integral Human Development as a paradigm for strategizing pastoral activities.

    Meetings between the German and African Bishops, represented by the Standing Committee, have become a tradition since 1982. They meet once every four (4) to five (5) years to discuss on mutually agreed issues as part of an effort to promote pastoral solidarity between Germany and the African continent, and also to discuss issues relevant to promoting the growth of the church in the two Conferences. The meetings have contributed to the deepening and intensification of the relationship between the local Churches in Africa and the Church in Germany.

    The Seminar in Madagascar will be the VIIIth (Eight) time that the two bodies will be meeting. The German delegation will be led by His Eminence Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich. The SECAM delegation, on the other hand, will be led by the SECAM President, Most Rev. Gabriel Mbilingi, Archbishop of Lubango (Angola).

    While in Madagascar, the two delegations will pay a coutesy call on the Republican President of Madagascar. They will also meet the Apostolic Nuncio to Madagascar and the German Ambassador as well as the leadership of the Malagash Epsicopal Conference.

    Finally, SECAM joins the Church in Madagascar to congratulate His Excellency, Desire TSARAHAZANA, Archbishop of Toamasina, on his appointment as one of the Cardinals to be created in the next Consistory on 29th June 2018. The names of those to be created Cardinas were announced by the Holy Father, Pope Francis, on Pentescoste Sunday, 20th May 2018.

    ISSUED BY

    SECAM SECRETARIAT

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