PONTIFICAL COUNCIL FOR THE LAITY
Pan African Congress for the Catholic Laity
Being witnesses of Jesus Christ in Africa today
“Salt of the earth...light of the World (Mt. 5:13-14)
4 – 9 September 2012
The Pontifical Council for the Laity is organising the Pan-African Congress for the Catholic Laity in Yaounde in Cameroon. The September 4th to 9th, 2012 gathering will have as its theme: “Being Witness of Jesus Christ in Africa Today: Salt of the earth ...light of the world (Mt. 5:13-14)”. This continental congress will be held at the Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC) in Yaounde and is part of the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s tradition of organising continental and/or regional congresses for Catholic Laity in different parts of the world.
The focus on Africa by the Pontifical Council for the Laity is not by chance. It comes after the Papal Apostolic Journey to Cameroon and Angola (March 17-23, 2009) and to Benin (November 18-20, 2011) and the presentation of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus by Pope Benedict XVI.
The Panafrican Congress of Catholic Laity is being organised with the support of the Catholic Church in Cameroon. The main participants at the congress will be Catholic lay faithful and include delegates chosen by African Bishops' Conferences, International meetings of Bishops' Conferences and the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences in Africa and Madagascar (SECAM/SCEAM), representatives of Small Christian Communities (SCC), members of lay associations, ecclesial movements and new communities. Some cardinals, bishops, priests and religious will also accompany the laity during this congress as an eloquent sign of ecclesial communion. More than 250 delegates are expected to take part in the congress.
The meeting demonstrates the commitment of the Pontifical Council for the Laity to journey together with the particular Churches. It also helps the laity to live their faith in communion with their pastors and to rediscover their co-responsibility for the Church’s mission in its many fields of apostolate. The Congress is intended to renew and deepen the commitment of the laity to live in their contexts - families, small Christian communities, lay associations, ecclesial movements, parishes, Catholic schools and universities as well as in society, in politics and in the work place - proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ as a universal gift of salvation and to engage themselves in the work of New Evangelisation.
This is intended also to strengthen the relationship of the Church in Africa with the Successor of St. Peter and to encourage the preparation and training of the laity so that they will be strengthened in their Christian identity and have a keener awareness of their mission in the Church and in the world.
The Congress is taking place at a time when the Church is preparing to celebrate the Year of Faith, declared by Pope Benedict XVI with the Apostolic Letter of 11 October 2011, Porta fidei, that will begin on 11 October 2012 and will conclude on 24 November 2013.
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