Jacinta W. Odongo – Kampala, Uganda
Speaking to hundreds of SECAM delegates on Sunday, Archbishop Rugambwa exhorted African prelates meeting in the Ugandan capital, Kampala “to live with ‘collegial affect,’ or ‘affective collegiality,” which gives rise to a deep concern on the part of Bishops for other particular Churches and the Universal Church.”
A call for tangible participation in SECAM
The Archbishop-Secretary said that such affective collegiality is to be actualized and expressed in different ways, even institutional.
“This should concretely translate into, among other things, tangible participation in the activities of SECAM and its structures, regarding both personnel and finances,” he added.
He further challenged the Bishops to spare no effort or initiative to make this solidarity effective, through well-developed structures that are adapted to actual circumstances and situations.
The Vatican prelate further called upon SECAM Bishops to heed the message of Pope St. Paul VI during his visit to Uganda in 1969. The Pope told the Church in Africa: “By now, you Africans are missionaries to yourselves.” This, he said, gave the black African person and the African continent a unique Christian identity.
Bishops should advocate for a Just Social Order
Archbishop Rugambwa encouraged the delegates to support the establishment of a Just Social Order. He noted the three principle elements of the 2009 African Synod were, reconciliation, justice and peace. The Church, therefore, has a mission to accomplish.
“In such a way, the Church is called to form upright consciences receptive to the demands of justice, so as to produce men and women willing and able to build this social order by their responsible conduct,” he explained.
Ugandan Martyrs as models of an uncompromising faith
He called upon the Bishops to emulate the Uganda Martyrs by teaching the faithful to remain courageous and to stand for the truth, whatever the circumstances.
The Archbishop also urged his audience to keep the message of Pope Francis alive, which speaks on the need for transformation and conversion in the Church.
The SECAM Plenary Assembly started on Sunday 20 July and is expected to end on Monday 29 July. It is being held under the theme “Church-Family of God in Africa, Celebrate your Jubilee! Proclaim Meet and Welcome Christ your Saviour.”
Over 300 delegates from Africa, Madagascar, Europe, America, Asia and beyond are in attendance including Cardinals, Archbishops, Bishops, priests, religious men and women, representatives of various partners and selected institutions among others.