(Archbishop of Freetown and Bo, Sierra Leone)
We express gratefulness to the Pope for the Synod - a very important moment for the Church in Africa.
We thank the Pope for his message of condolence on the violent death of one of our missionary priests, a Dutch Doctor and his family in one of our parishes.
The Church in Sierra Leone started in the 15th century by the Spanish Jesuits. Later the Founder of SMA Fathers, Mons. De Bresillac, Blessed Anne Marie Jahvouey, Foundress of the Sisters of Cluny and the Holy Ghost Fathers during the 18th century.
Evangelisation for us in Sierra Leone has been based on an Education Social Word which has been appreciated by all Muslims, other Christians and our brothers and sisters in ordinary life.
The Church has been at the forefront of the education and moral and religious training of the young.
The relationship with the Muslims is relatively good, so that even priests come from Muslim families.
Over 98% of our people in Africa are illiterate in the Western sense - these live in the village, which is the centre of African life.
Hence the Small Christian Communities must be the basis of our evangelisation. Pope Paul VI has clearly spelt this out by the fact that it gives the African the sense of life and community life. A course in Small Christian Communities has been offered in Kenema Pastoral Centre for over fifteen years.
Inculturation is going to be the background of evangelisation in Africa. But it will have to be not only by Bishops and priests but by the people themselves. They know their cultures, songs and traditions, etc. We love life, ceremonies and rituals. This is a great step towards inculturation.
Original text: English