“It is a symbol of ownership of every Catholic in Africa and the islands that SECAM is our association here in Africa and Madagascar,” the Secretary General of the Association of Member Episcopal Conferences in Eastern Africa (AMECEA), one of the eight regional Bishops’ Conferences that constitute SECAM, Fr. Anthony Makunde told AMECEA Online News referencing the annual collection.
But owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the SECAM Day will not be celebrated as usual even as members of the symposium continue to pray for an end to the pandemic.
“We have (also) been praying for an end to the pandemic but new cases continue to soar in many African countries as elsewhere,” Cardinal Ouédraogo says, and adds, “A recent report from the Caritas International indicates that Africa is the worst affected of all continents in terms of Covid-19 effects. There are cases of food shortages, due to the lockdowns.”
“Thousands have lost jobs, small businesses destroyed. The diversity of pre-existing disasters such as floods, drought, locust invasion, poor harvest are real and constitute serious challenges,” the President of SECAM says.
According to the Burkinabe Prelate, the COVID-19 situation has given rise to several questions and agitations.
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“For those in the grip of anguish and misery, it is easy to conclude that God has abandoned us and the pandemic is punishment for our sins, individual and communal. But as we already said in our Pentecost message, if, we experience pain or if we suffer, God participates in it in order to overcome it,” the Cardinal says in his message of solace.
He expresses the regret that social evils continued to be reported in many African countries even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is shameful and regretful that not even the deadly COVID-19 has deterred violence and terrorism in some countries in Africa. We continue to kill ourselves on a daily basis. We join our voice with the Holy Father, Pope Francis and other world leaders to call for an immediate end to violence everywhere in Africa and elsewhere in the world,” the 75-year-old Cardinal says.
But not all has been gloom for the Heads of the Church in Africa and Madagascar, according to SECAM President.
“We certainly have had moments of sorrow but there were also joyful moments in the last one year. We, therefore, thank God for his blessings and magnanimity,” the Cardinal says and goes ahead to express gratitude to Bishops, Clergy, Religious and Lay members of the Church across the continent “for their commitment to Evangelization in spite of the current challenges.”
“Be assured of our continued closeness to you and our daily prayers for you, especially, those of you who are sick or experiencing different challenges in your daily life,” the President of SECAM says.
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.