VATICAN, September 25, 2009 (CISA) -Pope Benedict XVI has named participants in the second Africa Synod of Bishops to be held October 5 to 25 at the Vatican.
The list includes bishops, experts and auditors from dioceses and Catholic institutions across Africa. The synod theme is: The Church in Africa, at the Service of Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. “You are the salt of the earth, … you are the light of the world.”
Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals.
Cardinal Peter Erdo, archbishop of Esztergom-Budapest, Hungary, and president of the “Consilium Conferentiarum Episcoporum Europae” (CCEE).
Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois, archbishop of Paris, France.
Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples.
Archbishop Henri Teissier, emeritus of Algiers, Algeria.
Archbishop Jaime Pedro Goncalves of Beira, Mozambique.
Archbishop Orlando B. Quevedo O.M.I. of Cotabato, Philippines, secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC).
Archbishop Luigi Bressan of Trento, Italy, president of the Italian Episcopal Conference’s episcopal commission for the evangelisation of peoples and co-operation among churches.
Archbishop Jorge Ferreira da Costa Ortiga of Braga, Portugal, president of the Portuguese Episcopal Conference.
Archbishop Ludwig Schick of Bamberg, Germany, president of the “Weltkirche” commission of the “Deutsche Bischofskonferenz”.
Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil, president of the Latin American Episcopal Conference CELAM.
Archbishop Jorge Enrique Jimenez Carvajal C.I.M. of Cartagena en Colombia, Colombia.
Archbishop Telesphore George Mpundu of Lusaka, Zambia.
Archbishop Cornelius Fontem Esua, of Bamenda, Cameroon.
Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Atlanta, U.S.A.
Archbishop-Bishop Henryk Hoser S.A.C. of Warszawa-Praga, Poland.
Archbishop Gabriel Charles Palmer-Buckle of Accra, Ghana.
Archbishop Odon Marie Arsene Razanakolona of Antananarivo, Madagascar.
Archbishop Michel Christian Cartateguy S.M.A. of Niamey, Niger.
Archbishop Edward Tamba Charles of Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leone.
Bishop John Anthony Rawsthorne of Hallam, England, president of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD) of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Bishop Maurice Piat C.S.Sp. of Port-Louis, Mauritius.
Bishop Edmond Djitangar of Sarh, Chad.
Bishop Peter William Ingham of Wollongong Australia, president of the Federation of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Oceania (FCBCO).
Bishop Louis Nzala Kianza of Popokabaka, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Bishop Jean-Pierre Bassene of Kolda, Senegal, president of the John Paul II Foundation for the Sahel.
Bishop Giorgio Bertin O.F.M. of Djibouti, apostolic administrator “ad nutum Sanctae Sedis” of Mogadishu, Somalia.
Bishop Menghisteab Tesfamariam M.C.C.J., eparch of Asmara, Eritrea.
Bishop Benedito Beni dos Santos of Lorena, Brazil.
Bishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis, Tunisia.
Msgr. Obiora Francis Ike, director of the Catholic Institute for Development, Justice and Peace (CIDJAP), Enugu, Nigeria.
Fr. Raymond Bernard Goudjo, secretary of the “Justitia et Pax” Commission of the Regional Episcopal Conference of West Africa (CERAO), Cotonou, Benin.
Fr. Juvenalis Baitu Rwelamira, director of the Centre for Social Justice and Ethics; professor and director of the Centre for the Social Teaching of the Church at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Nairobi, Kenya.
Fr. Guillermo Luis Basanes S.D.B., general counsellor of the Salesian Society for the Africa-Madagascar region.
Fr. Emmanuel Typam C.M., secretary general of the Confederation of the Conferences of Superiors Major of Africa and Madagascar.
Fr. Zeferino Zeca Martins S.V.D., provincial for Angola of the Society of the Divine Word.
Fr. Barthelemy Adoukonou, secretary general of the of the Regional Episcopal Conference of Franco-phone West Africa (CERAO), Ivory Coast.
Fr. Paul Bere S.J., professor of the Old Testament and biblical languages at the “Institut de Theologie de la Compagnie de Jesus, Universite Catholique dell’Afrique de l’Ouest”, Abidjan, Ivory Coast and at the Hekima College Jesuit School of Theology, Nairobi, Kenya.
Fr. Benezet Bujo, professor of moral theology and social ethics at the “Universite de Fribourg” in Switzerland.
Fr. Belmiro Chissengueti C.S.Sp., secretary of the “Commissao Episcopal Justica e Paz”, Luanda, Angola.
Fr. Gianfrancesco Colzani, professor of missionary theology at the missionary faculty of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
Fr. Michael F. Czerny S.J., director of the African Jesuit AIDS Network (AJAN), Nairobi, Kenya.
Filomena Jose Elias, member of the pastoral and liturgical council of the cathedral of Maputo, Mozambique.
Martin Esso Essis, emeritus professor of economics at the University of Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Sr. Anne Beatrice Faye C.I.C., general counsellor of the Sisters of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Senegal.
Deogratias Kasujja, counsellor of the centre run by the Work of Mary – Focolari Movement, in charge of spiritual formation of members, Uganda.
Mariam Paul Kessy, national co-ordinator of the Christian Professionals of Tanzania, (CPT), assistant secretary of the Justice and Peace commission of the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania.
Sr. Elisa Kidane S.M.C., general counsellor of the Combonian Missionaries, Eritrea.
Msgr. Matthew Hassan Kukah, vicar general of Kaduna, Nigeria.
Br. Jose Sebastiao Manuel O.P., director and co-founder of the “Mosaiko” cultural centre, Luanda, Angola.
Fr. Aimable Musoni S.D.B., professor of ecclesiology at the Pontifical Salesian University, Rome.
Sr. Immaculate Nakato S.M.R., general counsellor of the Society of Our Lady of Help, Uganda.
Yvonne Ndayikeza, national co-ordinator of movements of Catholic Action in Burundi and permanent executive secretary of the commission for the apostolate of the laity, Bujumbura, Burundi.
Fr. Joseph-Marie Ndi-Okalla, professor of theology at the faculty of theology of the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC) in Yaounde, Cameroon; president of the “Association Internationale de Missionologie Catholiques”(AIMC/IACM) for Africa
Fr. Paulinus Ikechukwu Odozor C.S.Sp., associate professor of Christian ethics and the theology of world church, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame – Indiana, U.S.A.
Sr. Teresa Okure S.H.C.J., academic dean of the faculty of theology at the Catholic Institute of West Africa (CIWA), Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Florence Oloo, deputy vice chancellor for Academic Affairs of Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya.
Fr. Godfrey Igwebuike Onah, vice rector of the Pontifical Urban University, Rome.
Felicia Onyeabo, national president of the Catholic Women Organisation, Nigeria.
Fr. Angelo Paleri O.F.M. Conv., postulator general of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual, director for the diffusion of “Ecclesia in Africa” in mission lands, Zambia.
Fr. Samir Khalil Samir S.J., professor of the history of Arab culture and Islamic studies at St. Joseph’s University, Beirut, Lebanon.
Maurice Sandouno, head of the DREAM programme for combating the transfer of the HIV virus from mother to child, Conakry, Guinea.
Fr. Kinkupu Leonard Santedi, secretary general of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Sr. Liliane Sweko Mankiela S.N.D. de N., general counsellor of the Sisters of Our Lady of Namur, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Fr. Anselm Umoren M.S.P., superior general of the Missionary Society of St. Paul, Abuja, Nigeria.
Sr. Marie-Bernard Alima Mbalula, secretary of the Justice and Peace commission of the “Conference Episcopale Nationale du Congo” (CENCO) and of the “Association des Conferences Episcopales de l’Afrique Centrale” (ACEAC), Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Fr. Joaquin Alliende, international president of the Aid to the Church in Need Association.
Elard Alumando, country director of the DREAM programme, Malawi.
Marguerite Barankitse, foundress of the “Maison Shalom”, Ruyigi, Burundi.
Paolo Beccegato, international area director of Caritas Italiana, Rome.
Emmanuel Habuka Bombande, executive director of the West Africa Network for Peacebulding (WANEP), Ghana.
Rose Busingye, foundress and president of Meeting Point International, Kampala, Uganda.
Munshya Chibilo, head of distance adoption projects of the Pope John XXIII Community Association, Zambia.
Thomas Diarra, instructor at the catechesis formation centre, Kati, Mali.
Assande Martial Eba, member of the “Fondation Internationale Notre Dame de la Paix”, Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
Kpakile Felemou, director of the DREAM centre, Conakry, Guinea.
Axelle Fischer, secretary general of the Justice and Peace Commission for Franco-phone Belgium, Brussels, Belgium.
Inmaculada Myriam Garcia Abrisqueta, president of the “Manos Unidas” association, Spain.
Br. Armand Garin, regional head of the Little Brothers of Jesus for North Africa, (Algeria and Morocco), Annaba, Algeria.
Elena Giacchi, gynaecologist at the centre for study and research into the natural regulation of fertility at the Sacred Heart Catholic University, Rome, and president of WOOMB-Italia, (national co-ordination of the Billings ovulation method – Italy).
Sr. Bernadette Guissou S.I.C.O., superior general of the Sisters of the Immaculate Conception, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.
Christophe Habiyambere, president of Fidesco, Kigali, Rwanda.
Sr. Felicia Harry, N.S.A. (O.L.A.), superior general of the Missionary Sisters of Our Lady of the Apostles, Ghana.
Jules Adachédé Hounkponou, secretary general of the international co-ordination of Christian Youth Workers (CIGiOC)
Marie-Madeleine Kalala Ngoy Mongi, honorary minister for human rights, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Fr. Speratus Kamanzi A.J., superior general of the Congregation of the Apostles of Jesus, Nairobi, Kenya.
Josaphat Laurean Kanywanyi associate professor of law at the University of Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania.
Sr. Mary Anne Felicitas Katiti L.M.S.I., mother provincial of the Congregation of Little Servants of Mary Immaculate, Zambia.
Edem Kodjo, secretary general emeritus of the Organisation of the African Union (OUA), prime minister emeritus, professor of patrology at the “Institut St. Paul” of Lome, Togo.
Gustave Lunjiwire-Ntako-Nnanvume, international secretary of the “Mouvement d’Action Catholique Xaveri” (MAC Xaveri), Democratic Republic of Congo.
Ngon-Ka-Ningueyo François Madjadoum, director of “Secours Catholique et Développement” (SE.CA.DEV), Chad.
Sr. Jacqueline Manyi Atabong, assistant to the superior general of the Sisters of St. Teresa of the Child Jesus in the diocese of Buea; co-ordinator for Africa of the International Catholic Commission for Prison Pastoral Care (ICCPPC), Douala, Cameroon. Sr. Bernadette Masekamela C.S., superior general of the Sisters of Calvary, Botswana.
Fr. Richard Menatsi, acting director, co-ordinator of the Justice and Peace Desk / Inter-regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA), Harare, Zimbabwe.
Sr. Cecilia Mkhonto S.S.B., superior general of the Sisters of St. Bridget, South Africa.
Ermelindo Rosario Monteiro, secretary general of the episcopal Justice and Peace Commission, Maputo, Mozambique.
Maged Moussa Yanny, executive director of the Upper Egypt Association for Education and Development, Egypt.
Aloyse Raymond Ndiaye, president of the “Comite National des Chevaliers de l’Ordre de Malte au Senegal”, Dakar, Senegal.
Laurien Ntezimana, theology graduate of the diocese of Butare, Rwanda.
Fr. Sean O’Leary M.Afr., director of the Denis Hurley Peace Institute, South Africa.
Sr. Pauline Odia Bukasa F.M.S., superior general of the Ba-Maria Sisters, Buta Uele, Democratic Republic of Congo.
Augustine Okafor, expert in governmental administration, Nigeria.
Orochi Samuel Orach, assistant to the executive secretary of the Uganda Catholic Medical Bureau, Kampala, Uganda.
Barbara Pandolfi, president of the secular institute of the Missionary Sisters of the Kingship of Christ, Italy.
Alberto Piatti, secretary general of the AVSI foundation, Milan, Italy.
Raymond Ranjeva, former vice president of the International Court of Justice in the Netherlands, and a member of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.
Genevieve Amalia Mathilde Sanze, head of the Work of Mary – Focolari Movement, Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Victor M. Scheffers, secretary general of “Justitia et Pax Netherlands”, The Hague, Netherlands.
Br. André Sene O.H., head of health pastoral care in the diocese of Thies, Senegal.
Sr. Bedour Antoun Irini Shenouda N.D.A., mother provincial of the “Missionaires de Notre Dame des Apotres”, Cairo, Egypt.
Pierre Titi Nwel, social mediator and ex co-ordinator of the National Service for Justice and Peace of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (CENC), Yaounde, Cameroon.
Elisabeth Twissa, vice president of the World Organisation of Catholic Female Organisations (UMOFC), Tanzania.
Sr. Maria Ifechukwu Udorah D.D.L., superior general of the Daughters of Divine Love, Enugu, Nigeria.
Sr. Geneviève Uwamariya of the Institute of Santa Maria of Namur, Rwanda.
REFLECTION: Challenges of African Synod for Religious Communities in Africa
By Fr. Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ, Kenya
The Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops announces a theme that touches the core of Africa’s contemporary socio-political, cultural, religious, and economic predicament: reconciliation, justice, and peace. The Synod’s focus represents a kairos for the church and for the continent (cf. Instrumentum Laboris, no. 146). Wherever we look, Africa yearns for reconciliation, justice, and peace – from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to Somalia, from the war-ravaged Sudan’s Darfur region to the combustible Niger-Delta region in Nigeria. The cry for reconciliation echoes from divided communities; the demand for justice rises from millions of refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), and the longing for peace flows in the tears of millions of victims of war and conflict in Africa. These collective cries and echoes from the continent set the framework within which to consider the theme of the synod.
The question can be asked: in what ways does the Synod’s theme concern communities and institutes of consecrated persons in Africa? In responding to this question we need to be aware of a longstanding prejudice that religious live on the margins of real life in Africa. Not only does religious life insulate its members, it also shelters them from the scorching heat of injustice and the harsh realities of division and strife. This is only a prejudice. In truth, religious life places consecrated persons at the heart of God’s actions in the world. Just like the church, the joys and hopes, the grief and anguish of millions of African peoples are also those of institutes of consecrated persons (see Gaudium et spes, no. 1). Viewed from this perspective, the second African Synod represents yet another invitation for religious and their communities to engage more intensely in God’s project of re-creating the earth and building a reconciled, just, and peaceful African continent.
This brief reflection for religious institutes in Africa presupposes three basic principles. First, the mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace are constitutive of the life, teaching, and ministry of Jesus Christ (see Luke 4:14-21). Thus the responsibility of religious in Africa – and, indeed, all Christians – to participate in themission announced by the African Synod stems from the invitation to follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ (cf. IL, no. 40). Secondly, it is important to consider religious life within the context of the community called church. Religious communities inAfrica as in elsewhere do not form a separate church. As Lumen Gentium demonstrates clearly, religious form an integral part of the People of God. Consequently, we can reasonably expect that whatever poses challenges to the church in Africa will also finddeep resonances within religious communities. A third and final principle is the principle of sacramentality: the mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace embodies first and foremost a way of life rather than ideologies to be foisted on other people.The church and religious communities in Africa bear responsibility for practicing these virtues as a prerequisite for preaching them.
This brief article addresses a simple question: considering the theme of the second African Synod, what are some challenges posed to members of religious institutes for their life and mission in Africa?
As indicated above, reconciliation is a lived virtue. Examples abound of how Africa has been torn asunder by tribalism and ethnicity. Not only does this negative process destroy the lives of millions of Africans; it also retards the socio-economic and political development of the continent. In this context, the witness demanded of religious is to model a reconciled community for the rest of the continent. Like the church, religious institutes “must become more and more a reconciled community, a place where reconciliation is proclaimed to all people of good will” (Ibid, Preface). To take but one example, during the post-election violence in Kenya in early 2008, the veil of tranquility covering religious life was torn to shreds by tribal and ethnic sentiments as sisters turned against sisters and brothers against brothers. Professing the same vows and promoting the same charism did not shield some religious communities from theatrocious strife and divisive sentiments that assailed the rest of the Kenyan society. What happened in Kenya gives an indication of the larger continental profile. On the eve of the second African Synod, religious institutes in Africa face the pertinent challenge of how to overcome the scourge of tribalism and ethnicity and thus become a symbol or a sacrament of a reconciled community, a beacon for the rest of Africa. This challenge embodies a call to religious institutes and their members to assume more concretely the “ministry of reconciliation,” in deeds, rather than by words (Ibid, no. 42). It implies setting an example for the rest of the church and Africa “through the witness of their lives”(Ibid). As the synod’s Instrumentum Laboris rightly asserts, peace, like reconciliation, “is primarily born from within, in the interior of individuals and communities” (Ibid, no. 47).
The principle that those who preach justice and peace must first be seen to be just and peaceful holds true for religious as it does for the rest of the church. There is no dearth of situations in Africa crying out for justice and peace. Whether in the oil-rich and impoverished Niger-Delta region in Nigeria or the war zones of Darfur in Sudan, the longing for justice and peace remains ineluctable. Yet in turning our attention to these cases of flagrant violation of justice and abuses of human rights, we risk overlooking the challenges of justice and peace for religious communities as well.
When it comes to justice, one issue that the church in Africa and, therefore, religious communities continue to struggle with concerns the dignity of women. Across the continent of Africa thousands of religious women proclaim the reign of God in concrete acts of charity and compassion. Yet the question remains: to what extent is the dignity of these consecrated women honored, recognized, and celebrated in church and in society? Instrumentum Laboris candidly admits that “women and the laity in general are not fully integrated in the Church’s structures of responsibility and the planning of her pastoral programmes” (no. 20, cf. no. 30); “women continue to be subjected to many forms of injustice. . . . women are oftentimes given an inferior role” (nos. 59-61; cf. no. 117). Beyond admissions, the church faces the challenge of translating expressions of concern into deeds of justice, fairness, and equality. This assertion invites religious institutes to be at the forefront of the mission of promoting justice, dignity, and peace for African women in church and in society. Since it is impossible to give what one does not have, consecrated women and men face the challenge of practicing justice, equality, and fairness within their institutes and communities as living witnesses to the church and the African society.
A frequently repeated nomenclature for the church in the documents of the African Synod is “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”. Surprisingly little or no mention is made of the question of the integrity of creation in Instrumentum Laboris. This is a disturbing omission. In the present context of debates about global climate change, the church and religious communities cannot enjoy the luxury of silence, apathy, and indifference. Globalization has placed Africa on the receiving end of the depletion of the ozone layer, disastrous change of weather patterns, and unregulated carbon emissions. If the church and religious communities remain silent or indifferent, as it seems the case in Instrumentum Laboris, even the stones of the earth would cry out! The mission of reconciliation, justice, and peace “extends itself to all creation” (Ibid, Preface). In today’s globalised world, religious communities in Africa face the challenge of how to preach and internalized principles of eco-justice, harmony with the created world, and honoring the integrity of creation. In keeping with the principles articulated above, honoring the integrity of creation requires adopting concrete steps and means with regard to how religious consume and replenish the goods of the earth. To date, little reflection exists on the theme of the integrity of creation and the challenges it poses for the life and mission of religious institutes in Africa. The occasion of the second African Synod offers an opportune time to initiate this reflection.
On the whole, the challenges facing religious communities and institutes in Africa on the eve of the Synod contain important implications for the formation of consecrated women and men. How do religious communities form their members to live thesevalues of reconciliation, justice, and peace? (cf. IL, no. 54). For consecrated women and men in Africa, an authentic participation in the Synod’s theme requires a radical reevaluation of their formation programmes (cf. Ibid, nos. 126-127). If taken seriously, this process of reevaluation could signal a significant shift away from the perception of religious life as insulation from serious issues facing the world to religious life as a mission to immerse and engage fully in the challenges of today’s globalised world. Of these challenges, the quest for reconciliation, justice, and peace generates myriad priorities for action.
Some questions for reflection:
1) Several indigenous African communities practice different forms of reconciliation: how can religious institutes in Africa adopt and adapt some of these practices in order to live as reconciled communities?
2) What are some indicators of a lack of justice and respect for human dignity within religious institutes in Africa and what concrete steps can be taken to practice greater justice and promote dignity, equality, and peace within religious communities?
What concrete steps do religious communities take to use more renewable forms of energy and practice more energy-efficient ways of living?
[Published with permission of the Commission for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation, USG/UISG Secretariat, Rome. Web: http://www.jpicformation.wikispaces.com]