Prioritize “prayer before action”: Cardinal Sarah to Laity of Catholic Diocese in Cameroon

Robert Cardinal Sarah has called upon the Laity of the Catholic Diocese of Obala in Cameroon to prioritize prayer in their daily tasks.  

Addressing representatives of the Laity at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Cathedral of Obala Diocese on April 4, the Guinean-born Cardinal, who is visiting the Central African nation said, “Prayer is an opportunity for the layperson to recharge his batteries and strengthen his relationship with the Lord.”

“As Christians, we must give priority to prayer before action, before the organization,” Cardinal Sarah, who, until his retirement in February 2021, was serving as Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, said.

He added, “We Christians are often bewitched by the world. We want to adopt the world's methodology; we want to follow the world's organization in order to succeed. But if we look at Jesus, he didn't follow the world.”

Jesus Christ, the Cardinal said, “remained 30 years in Nazareth without saying anything but working and praying. Today the church talks a lot and prays little. That's why we must ask Jesus Lord to teach us to pray.”


The Cardinal, who arrived in Cameroon on April 2 for a weeklong visit continued, “We see wars, killings in the world today but God gives us the way to follow. He speaks to our conscience and in our hearts in silence, in silent prayer. The community should help us because we are one family, one body.”

“You are part of that body, and you work for the health and balance of that body. You must represent the Church in the family, in the economy, in politics, in culture and so on,” Cardinal Sarah said.

He appealed to the Laity to play their role in society as God’s messengers, saying, “God sends you into the world as salt of the earth and light of the world to brighten the darkness in our society; to give flavor to our society of violence.”

“The Vatican II Council puts you at your rightful place. You have to be active wherever you are, in politics, culture, economy, in your neighborhood and your families, especially the family that is openly under attack from western culture,” Cardinal Sarah emphasized. 

He cautioned the representatives of the Laity in Obala Diocese against foreign values that are inconsistent with Christianity. He said, “Western culture says a man should get married to a man and a woman to a woman. But we must respect nature and the law of God.”

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“Today, the world is so proud of its discoveries that it thinks God is no longer needed. But true disciples of Jesus Christ respect nature and the will of God,” emphasized the 78-year-old Cardinal, who started his Episcopal Ministry in December 1979 as Archbishop of Guinea’s Conakry Archdiocese.

He said the April 4 meeting with the Laity aimed to nourish their faith and guide them along the paths of truth and holiness. It was also aimed to “encourage unity and fraternal communion within the church, by strengthening the bonds that unite us as God's people,” Cardinal Sarah said.

On April 3, Cardinal Sarah addressed the Clergy ministering in Obala Diocese at St. Anna Efob Parish on the topic, “Silence in the liturgy”.

He presided over Priestly Ordination of 12 Deacons on April 5; and held a meeting with representatives of the youths of Obala Diocese on April 6.

Cardinal Sarah’s meeting with members of the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon (NECC) has been scheduled to take place on April 10, ahead of his departure from Cameroon on April 12.


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.