The Association of Catholic Bishops in Africa has advised the continent’s political leaders to put African human and natural resources at the service of development, reconciliation, justice and peace.
They said that this would also lift Africans from poverty and protect them against other social vices.
The bishops under the aegis of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) gave the advice in their resolutions on Sunday in Kampala, Uganda.
It was signed by its president, Cardinal Philippe Ouédraogo who is also the Archbishop of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso and a copy made available to the Nigeria News Agency .
The bishops in the resolution also advised African political leaders to address the problems of migrants, refugees and all who are still victims of slavery and human trafficking.
The meeting that started on July 20 and ended on July 28 also tasked the leaders to be accountable to those they were leading.
The bishops said that they would be ready to deepen their collaboration with the political leaders in achieving those demands for Africans.
The association also reminded the political leaders that SECAM was aware that most Africans were confronted with the anguish of their people and that the body would continue to serve as a sign of hope to them.
“The family founded on the union of man and woman remains the first place of evangelization; that is why SECAM has kept insisting on its importance, vocation and nature as ordained by God (cf. Gen. 2:24).’’
The body also promised to commit itself to the pastoral care of migrants and refugees, and to the protection of integral ecology.
The bishops said that children and the youth were crucial in the work of evangelization and needed to be given special attention and quality Christian education to make them effective witnesses to Christ.
“Women have an irreplaceable role and place in the Church and society. Their participation in education and evangelization is indispensable,’’ it said.
SECAM also said that it would continue to strengthen ecumenical communion among the different Christian denominations, and promote interfaith relationship on the continent.
It advised Christian communities to be more attentive to interpersonal relationships and the struggle against miseries among several Africans.
Earlier in the day during the closing mass, the newly elected 1st Vice-President of SECAM, Bishop Sithembele Sipuka of Mthatha, South Africa, in his sermon advised Africans to be optimistic and have hopeful perceptions about the continent.
“There is what is called Afro Pessimism where everything bad is associated with Africa. As a reaction to this, there is what is called Afro Optimism, which tends to romanticize Africa as the Paradise.
“We must neither be overly pessimistic nor overly optimistic about Africa, but be Afro- realistic.
“Building on the strength of what is good, we can be encouraged to deal with and overcome what is evil,” Sipuka said.
The bishop also advised youths to resist pressures that come from their workplaces, families and the society at large.
“To the young people, keep doing what is good even if you are in the minority because you will not only save yourself but you will also save others as well.
“When you find yourselves in situations that tempt you to compromise, make sure you do what is right.
“Many people are taking the easy road of immediate gratification and self-serving, but when you do what is right, there is hope for the salvation of others as well.
“Be the light of the world and salt of the earth,” he said.
Edited by Peter Dada
Sustain your spiritual rebirth, Cleric urges Oyo Christian pilgrims
Bishop Ademola Moradeyo, Chairman, Oyo State Pilgrims’ Welfare Board, Christian Wing, has advised pilgrims in the state to continually sustain the spiritual rebirth they had inculcated while in the Holy Land.
Moradeyo gave the advice on Wednesday at a thanksgiving service held for the pilgrims at the premises of the board in Ibadan.
He urged the pilgrims to renew their commitment to serving God and humanity and disallow issues of life to take away their love to fellow humans and service to the society.
The chairman enjoined the pilgrims not to deviate from the essence of the pilgrimage and abstain from any activity capable of making them backslide in faith and spiritual growth.
He noted that many Christians easily forget the lessons they learnt during pilgrimage to the Holy Land due to distractions and challenges of life which, he said, were inevitable in the journey of life.
“Christian pilgrims, who seek spiritual re-birth in the holy land, need to develop the passion to pray for remedy to the ills confronting the society as they return from the Holy Land.
“I urge you to move closer to your Creator and imbibe the teachings acquired during your sojourn in Jerusalem. You must also not forget to pray for the growth and prosperity of the state.
“If you do this, you can boast within yourself that you have achieved spiritual growth,” he stated.
Edited by Remi Koleoso and ‘Wale Sadeeq
Cleric advises returning Muslim pilgrims on good morals
Alhaji Issa Salahudeen, the Chief Imam of Ansarudeen Central Mosque, Omu-Aran, has advised Muslim pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia to reflect on the impact of their pilgrimage in their way of life.
Salahudeen, gave this advice on Tuesday during a special prayer for peace and development in Omu-Aran, Kwara.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that some Muslim pilgrims to Mecca have started returning to their respective states after the completion of the hajj.
Salahudeen said the pilgrimage to Mecca was a good opportunity for the pilgrims to intercede through prayers for workable solutions to the nation’s challenges.
He stressed the need for the pilgrims to appreciate Allah for the opportunity to be part of the exercise and for ensuring their safety.
According to him, some of the people, who paid for the same hajj died before they took off while many others even died during the exercise in the Holyland.
Salahudeen urged the pilgrims to continue to be of good morals as exhibited in the holy land in order to build a virile and decent society.
“I urge all the returning pilgrims to continue to maintain good Islamic principles and shun any acts capable of tarnishing their image.
“With your new status, you should be good examples and be the mirror of the society in both your actions and deeds.
“Your prayers as you have done in the holyland, should be a continuous exercise in moving our country forward.
“You should also realise in your prayers that Nigeria is facing some difficulties as regards insurgency, kidnapping, corruption and secession agitation among other challenges.
“As Muslims and more importantly, pilgrims from the holyland, we should devote our time and energy to prayers for an end to these ugly trends.
“This is the only way we can continue to live in peace and harmony, irrespective of our diverse ethnic, religious, political and cultural backgrounds”.
Cleric urges Christians to be relevant in church for the body of Christ to grow
Rev. Levi Obeagu of St Paul Anglican Church, Enugu state on Sunday urged Christians to be relevant in church activities for the body of Christ to grow spiritual and physically.
Obeagu, who gave the advice in his sermon during the Sunday service, said that participating in the works of God attract divine blessing more than being mere church goers.
He added that Christians should be pillars and not caterpillars in their churches urging them to help in building the church positively for it to stand firm.
The priest called on Christian mothers to make good use of all they learnt from their August meetings to help their families and the church to grow spiritually so that the society would be a better place for everyone.
The Cleric thanked all the women for making the August meeting a success, adding that the church would continue to support them in their good works.
He urged everyone to continue to live upright and always pray for God’s protection and mercy on the church and the society.
495 Katsina pilgrims depart Makkah for Jeddah en route Nigeria
The first batch of 495 Katsina state pilgrims have left Makkah to Jeddah en route Nigeria.
Malam Badaru Bello, the Public Relations Officer of Katsina State Pilgrims Welfare Board, made this known in an interview with journalists in Makkah on Saturday.
He said the plane to transport the pilgrims was expected to arrive from Nigeria tonight, though he did not mention specific time as to the scheduled departure and arrival time of the plight in Nigeria.
He said that all the pilgrims scheduled for departure to Nigeria were in good health and high spirit, adding; “ we thank God that we have started transporting our pilgrims back to Nigeria in good time”.
The Nigeria News Agency reports that the second flight is expected to depart Saudi Arabia to Katsina on Monday, Aug 19.
Cleric tasks Christians on righteousness, prayer
Pastor Ugo Nwajagu of the Anglican Church of Ascension, Achara Layout, Enugu, has urged Christians to continue to pray for unity and peaceful coexistence of Nigerians.
Nwajagu, who gave the advice in his sermon during the Sunday service in Enugu, said that to have a peaceful society, Christians must uphold righteousness and prayer.
He said that by praying and living uprightly, the society would overcome both its spiritual and security challenges.
According to the pastor, uprightness means wearing the whole amour of God, which include truthfulness, faithfulness, prayers and obedience to the word of God.
“The secret of Christian’s victory in any warfare is prayer and obedience because it is written in the Bible that obedience is better than sacrifice,” he said.
He called on Christians to always obey the words of God, the laws of the land and pray always for the society to move on well and peacefully.
He added that praying always helps every society to understand the challenges of life and as well overcome them.
“We should not allow the devil to tamper with our prayer life because once we begin to get weak in prayer, the society will begin to face a lot of challenges, “ he added.