Father Thomas ATTIYA OLIHA 
(Superior General, Apostles of Jesus, Kenya)

It is a "grace" in the Church in Africa to have numerous vocations both to the priesthood and the religious missionary life. The presence of the consecrated and contemplative life in the continent is a sign of the maturity of the faith. The Synod Fathers must consider the problem of the formation of priests and religious basic and the most important one to be discussed deeply, frankly and courageously in this August Assembly.

We expect the Synod Fathers to be very pastoral and practical to discuss such issues as: preaching of the Word of God, homilies, teaching of religion in schools, in the catechumenates,... administration of the sacraments, especially the Baptism and Penance, conversion of non-Christians, new impulse to direct evangelisation, unity of the Church, courageous effort for "reunification", pastoral care and concern for vocations, and the moral problems of justice and peace, honesty, sincerity, fulfilment of one's duties, the keeping of one's promises.

It is first of all the responsibility of the Bishops to encourage, support and promote new religious missionary societies and the contemplative life in the continent. They have the pastoral responsibility to see that very serious and deep spiritual formation is give to candidates in major seminaries and the religious houses of formation. They are the first to give good example of holy life to these vocations. We still appeal to the Bishops to consider ordaining permanent deacons in the Church in Africa.

Finally, we call for the deepening of faith and "holiness of life" in the Church in Africa. After one hundred years of the faith in the continent, the Church here should be able to produce saintly men and women in the line of ancient African saints and modern ones like the holy martyrs of Uganda, Blessed Clementine Anuarite and Isidore Bakanja of Zaire, and Blessed Mother Josephine Bakhita of Sudan.

Original text: English



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