by Rev. Fr. Joseph Komakoma – Secretary General
All is set for the 18th Plenary Assembly and Golden Jubilee of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM), in Kampala, Uganda, from the 20th (Arrival) to 29th (Departure) July 2019, on the theme: “Church-Family of God in Africa, Celebrate Your Jubilee! Proclaim Jesus Christ Your Saviour”
The event will host about 300 participants, including representatives from the Vatican, Cardinals, Archbishops and bishops, priests representatives of Religious congregations, the lay faithful and other dignitaries from the length and breadth of the World, Africa and the surrounding islands who will deliberate on how far the church has come and what the way forward should be for the next fifty or so years.
The deliberations will also lead to the finalisation of the “Kampala Document”. This is a pastoral document which will review the journey of SECAM over the past fifty years and will give direction on where the Church in Africa should be in the next fifty years, in terms of pastoral priorities.
Ten thousand copies of the document will be printed in the three formal languages of SECAM; English, French and Portuguese and published on the SECAM website for easy download by all and sundry.
The climax of the event will be a Solemn Mass at the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo, Kampala, on Sunday, 28th July 2019, and united in prayer with all the entire Church in Uganda as well as Masses in various dioceses, parishes and Small Christian communities across Africa and the Islands.
SECAM was born as a wish of African Bishops attending the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), to establish a forum in which they could speak with one voice on matters pertaining to the Church in Africa.
The idea/wish was concretised in July 1969, during the visit of Pope Paul VI to Kampala (Uganda); being the first time a Pope was visiting sub-Saharan Africa, the African Bishops saw it as an opportune occasion to launch the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar.
Fifty years later, on 29th of July 2018, SECAM launched the SECAM Golden Jubilee Year on the theme, Church-family of God in Africa, Celebrate your Jubilee! Proclaim Jesus Christ your Saviour. It was a deliberate decision to have a year of prayerful preparation towards the Golden Jubilee in July 2019.
The year has thus been a period of Thanksgiving, Remembrance of the progress made, Repentance/Conversion, Reconciliation and a Renewal of commitment to witness to Christ in Africa, Madagascar and the Islands.
The Bishops in Africa continue to invite each faithful, every Christian, all church institutions and religious groups, communities in Africa, Madagascar, and the islands, to let the call to this mission resonate with each and every one and to respond to it with zeal.
SECAM is thanking all Conferences, Dioceses, Parishes and Individuals who have travelled with the Bishops in this journey.