Paul Samasumo – Vatican City.
In his New Year Message of 2022, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo Nakellentuba, Metropolitan Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, in his role as President of SECAM, has said the African Church needs to be on the side of those who suffer.
May solidarity prevail
The Cardinal encouraged diocesan Justice and Peace and Caritas Commissions “to raise public awareness about social justice and come to the defence of human rights in our continent.”
“Dear sons and daughters of the African Continent and the Islands, at the beginning of this year, I would like to wish you health, happiness and prosperity. For 2022, I wish for our Continent good economic recovery, free of the debts that have been strangling it… May solidarity be set in motion in certain countries where famine prevails so that this problem can be eradicated,” said Cardinal Ouédraogo.
Peace is the fruit of a shared commitment
Addressing those devastated by the health and economic effects of Covid-19 as well as victims of senseless violence that has given rise to refugees and internal displacement on the continent, the Cardinal prayed for true peace.
“I think of the refugees and displaced persons, victims of fratricidal wars and terrorism while entrusting to God their fate so that a solution can be found to enable them to come out of the darkness and the shadow of death. The Lord does not abandon his people; he sends us his Son, whose birth anniversary we celebrated at Christmas, to save us and bring us peace because he is the Prince of Peace,” said the Metropolitan Archbishop of Ouagadougou.
Referencing Pope Francis, the Cardinal said, “Peace is both a gift from on high and the fruit of a shared commitment.” He called on all Christians in Africa to build bridges of fraternity, leading to the realisation of a culture of brotherhood and sisterhood.
An African Church engaged in Synodality
According to Pope Francis, “Synodality is a style, it is a walk together, and it is what the Lord expects from the Church of the third millennium.”
The 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, commonly referred to as the synod on synodality will take place in October 2023 under the theme, For a synodal Church: communion, participation and mission. The opening of the synodal process took place between the 9 - 10 Ocotber 2021. Therefore, this worldwide consultation regarding synodality is currently underway in the Church.
For his part, Cardinal Ouédraogo invites the African Church to stay the course of the synod on synodality consultation.
“May the light of Christ dispel the darkness of our doubts and enlighten us in our march towards synodality in our Church, that is the Church-Family of God at the service of the poor and the excluded of society and always ready to speak a word of encouragement to those who suffer,” said Cardinal Ouédraogo.