Nuncio in Ghana Says Security, Migration “great” Challenges in Need of Collective Response

Archbishop Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński, addresing delegates at the opening ceremony of the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) in Accra, Ghana. Credit: ACI Africa

The representative of the Holy Father in Ghana has told delegates participating in the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) that security and migration remain “great” challenges that require “the entire Church of Africa” to address.

In his address during the opening ceremony of the July 25 – August 1 meeting of Catholic Bishops in Africa taking place in Ghana’s capital city, Accra, Archbishop Henryk Mieczysław Jagodziński highlighted the complexity of the reality of migration on the African continent.

Security and migration on the African continent and its Islands are “a great challenge to be responded by the entire Church of Africa in the light of the social teachings of the Church and in the light of the Word of Christ,” Archbishop Jagodziński said during the Tuesday, July 26 opening session that took place at Christ the King Parish of Accra Archdiocese.

He added, “We all know that migration is a great global problem at this time because of the absence of peace and security in one's own beloved homeland caused by wars and conflicts, and the continent of Africa has its own share of this problem.”

“Migration is a very complicated issue due to its many causes,” the Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana said on the second day of the 19th SECAM Plenary Assembly that has brought together over 120 Catholic Bishops drawn from the eight regional associations of the continental symposium.


He highlighted a variety of reasons behind migration, saying, “People are compelled to migrate due to utter poverty or unemployment or political instability in their homeland.”

“Many do not move of their own free will but are forced to do so – refugees escaping persecution, people devastated by conflicts and war, by natural disasters and by human trafficking,” the native of Poland who was appointed Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana in May 2020 said.

The ongoing SECAM Plenary Assembly follows the July 2019 one that took place in Kampala, Uganda, marking  the celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the continental symposium, and concluding with the election of Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo, the Archbishop of Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso, as SECAM President.

Established in July 1969 out of the desire of Catholic Bishops in African during the Second Vatican Council to speak with one voice, SECAM has the mission “to promote its role as a sign and instrument of salvation and to build the Church as a Family of God in Africa,” while also preserving and fostering communion and collaboration among its member conferences.

Delegates of the 19th Plenary Assembly are meeting under the theme, “Ownership of SECAM: Security and Migration in Africa and its Islands”.

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They are drawn from the eight regional associations of Catholic Bishops. These include the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC), the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), the Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa Region (ACERAC), and the Regional Episcopal Conferences of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).

Other regional associations are the Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (AHCE), the Regional Episcopal Conferences of North Africa (CERNA), Madagascar and Episcopal Conferences of Indian Ocean (CEDOI), and the Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA).

In his July 26 address, Archbishop Jagodziński who officially assumed office as the Apostolic Nuncio in Ghana in September 2020 made reference to Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter on human fraternity and social friendship, Fratelli Tutti, and called for collaboration in addressing security and migration challenges.

“The different crises of the world including security and migration is a problem of humanity, faced not only by the Catholic Church but by different religions and nonbelievers as well,” the 53-year-old Vatican diplomat said. 

To find solutions to these challenges, Archbishop Jagodziński emphasized the “need for a journey of dialogue, mutual cooperation, reciprocal understanding and collaboration by all religious leaders and by all people.”


“An appeal for peace, justice and fraternity was made together by Pope Francis and the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar,” he went on to say, referencing the February 2021 session during the first International Day of Human Fraternity that the Holy Father held alongside the Grand Imam of al-Azhar, Ahmed el-Tayeb.

“May the Holy Spirit guide you in all your efforts and deliberations,” the Nuncio in Ghana told delegates of the 19th SECAM Plenary Assembly, and implored, “May the Blessed Virgin Mary, Our Lady of Africa, intercede for all the Catholic faithful of our dear continent Africa.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.