130 cardinals, bishops to attend to SECAM July 25-August 1

About 130 participants including cardinals and bishops of the Catholic Church from various countries are expected in Ghana for the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM).

SECAM seeks to bring the voice of the Catholic Church on issues of good governance and sustainable development, and to promote servant leadership across the continent and the islands.

Slated for July 25 to August 1, the event, hosted under the auspices of the Ghana Catholic Bishops’ Conference, would be on the theme “Ownership of SECAM: Security and Migration in Africa and its Islands.”

Announcing Ghana as the host yesterday in a press conference, Most Rev. Gabriel Kumordji, Acting Treasurer of SECAM and Bishop of Keta Akatsi Diocese, said representatives of church institutions from Africa, some officials from the Vatican as well as Bishops representing Bishops Conferences in Europe and the Americas would be in attendance.

He indicated that President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo would grace the event as the guest of honour, adding that a communique would be issued after deliberations on the closing day.

This Assembly, he said, was initially scheduled to take place in Burkina Faso but due to the political instability in the country, the decision was made to relocate the event to Ghana.

He noted that Ghana hosted the 15th Plenary Assembly in 2010 to mark the 40 anniversary of SECAM.

Most Rev. Kumordji said SECAM was founded in Kampala, Uganda on July 29, 1969 during the Pastoral Visit of Pope Paul VI, the first Pope to have visited Africa, South of the Sahara.

Presently, he said there were more than 600 Catholic bishops in Africa of which 28 were Cardinals, twoof whom are Ghanaians.

The Bishops established SECAM headquarters in Accra, adopted English, French and Portuguese as official languages and has eight Regional Conferences, similar to the political regions of Africa.

As a way of getting a wider platform for this objective, SECAM, Most Rev. Kumordji said, had since 2015 maintained an Observer Status at the African Union (AU).

“The AU is an important platform for bringing issues concerning the Church to the attention of African governments, organisations and the entire world, Situations of conflict, migration, disease or even bad governance, which infringe on human dignity no longer, have to remain the concern of only who are affected on the continent,” he added.

The Bishops of Africa, he noted, have set aside July 29 as SECAM DAY to be observed annually at the diocesan, national, regional and continental levels in Africa to make known the programmes and projects of SECAM and also seek financial and material support for SECAM’s activities.

BY CLAUDE NYARKO ADAMS

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