|Bishop Silota (President of Caritas Africa) and Cardinal Turkson (Pontifical Council of Justice and Peace)|
The 8th Regional Conference of "Caritas Africa" started this morning. We are about 100 delegates gathered under the theme: "Love of Christ urges us: Together in service to the poor".
After the celebration of the Mass which was presided by Cardinal Robert Sarah (Congregation for Divine Worship) the opening ceremony included speeches by Bishop Silota (Caritas Africa president), Michel Roy (Caritas Internationalis Secretary General), Fr Jo Komakoma (representing Archbishop Mbilingi, SECAM president) and Msgr Dal Toso, Pontifical Council Cor Unum secretary.
Each one of them underlined a different aspect. Bishop Silota presented elements of the context in which we are working and we are familiar with: refugees, killing of Christians, xenophobia, ebola, hunger... It looks as if Africa is only suffering but God manifests himself in this context and Caritas Africa is called to respond becoming good shepherds like Christ giving our lives for those who are suffering.
Michel Roy spoke about being and acting together to be able to face these challenges and pointed out how much the world counts on us being an organisation present in every part of the world and committed to the poorest in the world. As it was pointed out to him: "it is with you (Caritas) we will succeed to eliminate extreme poverty in the world".
Cardinal Turkson gave the keynote address: "The social dimension of evangelisation according to Evangelii Gaudium" (hope to be able to share the text in the near future).
The afternoon session gave space to Bishop Silota to present his report as president and to Jacques Dinan (executive secretary) to present a very down to earth report of the work done in the last four years. The image above gives a very idea of the different areas Caritas is involved in Africa through 17.000 parishes in 46 countries!
Going through each one of the strategic objectives presented in 2011, he indicated which outcome was expected and what have / have not been done and why helping us prepare the framework for the next four years.