For Sceam Day, Cardinal Ouédraogo calls on Africans “to adopt an inclusive culture”



“Pray without respite, give thanks in all circumstances: it is the will of God for you in the Christ Jesus ” (1 Th 5, 17-18).

Introduction

We are celebrating Sceam Day again on this day of July 29, 2021. Like last year (2020), we (peoples of Africa, islands and elsewhere) are living through painful and traumatic experiences caused by the different variants. of the Coronavirus (Covid-l9). Ongoing wars, terrorist attacks and other violent clashes have resulted in loss of life and material damage in various African countries. Countless numbers of our sons and daughters have been brutally murdered and many more live in dehumanizing conditions, fear and constant anguish. As we mourn the plight of our people everywhere, we also issue a call for renewed courage and to express our trust in the loving almighty and merciful God.

Turning to God in Prayer

In light of the advice given by Saint Paul to the Thessalonians (quoted above), we are invited to turn to God our Father on this day of Thursday, July 29, 2021 and Sunday 1er August to thank him for his blessings and protection, for the gifts we share with one another, for the gift of Mother Africa and that of our Catholic faith. Let us also solemnly call on him to end the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as the violence, torture, kidnapping and other crimes committed by individuals and armed groups in Africa and beyond.

Sceam Day, a reminder of our unity

In accordance with the concept of the Church-Family of God and the desire of Sceam members to preserve, foster and promote communion, solidarity and collaboration between its members and the Episcopal Conferences in Africa and the Islands, Sceam Day reminds us of our unity “with God and with others in Jesus Christ, which transcends all our peculiarities and our differences” (1).

From the beginning, God envisioned and intended all mankind to form a single family, under a single Father (cf. Gen 1-2). It is this same unity that the Holy Father, Pope Francis underlined in his third encyclical Fratelli tutti (we are all brothers and sisters), published in October 2020 and in which he urged the whole world to demonstrate a renewed commitment to universal brotherhood, friendship and solidarity (2).

Call

We therefore launch a vibrant appeal to all the peoples of Africa and the islands to avoid everything that divides us, and to immerse ourselves in everything that puts God first in our lives and nurtures a true brotherhood (3) through the mainland and the islands. Let us adopt an inclusive culture and a vision of the world rooted in Christ, where there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither master nor slave (cf. Gal 3, 27-28).

In this regard, we remind all the brother bishops of Africa, Madagascar, the islands and elsewhere that the Sceam is an episcopal association and therefore a collective property. All bishops are members of the Symposium and have shared responsibility for it. They are the ambassadors of the Sceam, with a leading role for its spiritual, financial and material well-being. Our collective interests and sacrifices for the Symposium are necessary to achieve its goals. To this end, we solemnly ask each Brother Bishop to strengthen our communion and our commitment to the Sceam, and to ensure that the Kampala Document and the implementation of its exhortations are taken into account in the pastoral program of our Local churches.

Likewise, we make a sincere call for an information session on Sceam to be organized at one of the annual meetings of each regional, interterritorial or national Episcopal Conference.

Sceam day is important for the Church-Family of God in Africa and in the islands. Also, we reiterate our call to prayer for the Symposium on Thursday July 29 and Sunday July 1.er August 2021. Despite the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic, we are also requesting financial and material support for the Sceam in this year 2021.

Thanks

The past year has been marked by mourning, but we have also experienced moments of joy. We therefore thank God for His blessings and His benevolence. We are also deeply grateful to our brother bishops, the clergy, the religious and the laity of the Church-Family of God in Africa and in the islands for their commitment to evangelization in all its forms, despite the hardships they face. endure on several fronts.

We recognize and appreciate the efforts that have been made since 2020 by the respective governments of the mainland and islands to contain the vicious spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and we encourage leaders to continue to work hard to protect the health of our people. populations. We also thank all those, including priests and consecrated persons, who have shown extraordinary dedication to alleviating the suffering of the sick.

We are indebted to all those inside and outside Africa and the islands who have shown solidarity with us and supported the Symposium over the past year. We are also grateful to all those who keep Sceam running (the Presidential Council, Treasurer, Standing Committee, Comitheol and Secretariat staff) with dedication and diligence.

To all our brothers and sisters in Africa, Madagascar, the islands and beyond, we say: your generosity expands Sceam’s mission, increases its influence, and helps us to better serve the Church and society.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Queen of Africa, and Saint Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, intercede for the Symposium.

Amen.

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