New SECAM Leadership Reaches Out to Regional Conferences for Support to Realize Mission

Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr (center), Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu (left) and Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula (right), SECAM President, First Vice and Second Vice President respectively. Credit: ACI Africa

The newly elected officials of the Symposium of Episcopal Conference of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) have called upon members of the eight regional associations to support them realize the mission the continental symposium. 

SECAM is a fruit of African Bishops in the course of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965). They expressed the wish to have a common forum that would facilitate the bringing together of their respective voices on matters of the Church in Africa, bringing the African vision to the universal Church.

The continental symposium has the mission “to promote the Church’s role as a sign and instrument of salvation and to build the Church as a Family of God in Africa by fostering communion, collaboration and joint action among all the Episcopal Conferences of Africa and the Islands through: Propagation of Faith, Human Development, Ecumenism, Formation, and Consultation.”

Speaking during the Eucharistic celebration to mark the conclusion of the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM on Sunday, July 31, the new President of SECAM, Bishop Richard Kuuia Baawobr, thanked Catholic Bishops in Africa for entrusting the new leadership with the mandate to oversee the continental symposium.

Credit: ACI Africa


“We are grateful to the Bishops for this mission that has been entrusted to us for all of Africa, Madagascar and its Islands,” Bishop Baawobr said on behalf of his two Assistants.

Elected SECAM President on July 30, the Ghanaian Cardinal-designate has taken over from Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo who has been at the helm of the continental symposium since July 2019. 

The Bishops of SECAM also elected Fridolin Cardinal Ambongo Besungu of the Archdiocese of Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as their first Vice President, and Bishop Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai Xai in Mozambique as their Second Vice President.

Credit: ACI Africa

SECAM Bishops come from eight regional associations, which 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).

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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 speech during Holy Mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral of the Archdiocese of Accra, the new President of SECAM called for solidarity, saying, “We count on your prayers and we count on the support of the regional episcopal conferences as a team of three, the President and two vice presidents, in order to take this mission forward.”

“You have seen the new team that was presented as the presidential council of the symposium of episcopal conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM),” the Local Ordinary of Ghana’s Wa Diocese further said.

The Catholic Church leader who was named Cardinal on May 29 continued,  “We are three, but beyond these three there are other people who are working in the episcopal regional conferences and they together with us form the standing committee.”

He continued, “It is together with them that we will try to make the Church of Africa present in our society and respond to the call that we have all received from God.”  


The Ghanaian Bishop who is among 21 new Cardinals to be created in the next Consistory scheduled for August 27 went on to reflect on some of the issues discussed during their July 25 – August 1 Plenary Assembly that was held at Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) Conference Center under theme, “Ownership of SECAM: Security and Migration in Africa and its Islands”.

Credit: ACI Africa

He said, “We have shared about how we can own SECAM and how we can work in a way that will promote security and that the migration that is happening happens in the proper manner and that people are not victims of migration.”

“That is the task ahead of us and we would like to do it together with all of you,” the member of the Missionaries of Africa (White Fathers) who served as the first African Superior General of the Catholic Congregation that was founded in 1868 following his election in 2010 added.

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.