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Friday, March 24, 2017
US holds first Eucharistic Congress for African Catholics
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¬†The first African National Eucharistic Congress was held at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and at the Catholic University of America, at the weekend. The historic event was planned by African pastoral leaders in collaboration with the Office for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Refugees, Migration and Refugee Services of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The objectives of the Eucharistic congress included providing an opportunity for African Catholics in the US to reflect on the significance of the Eucharist in their life, to deepen their faith through celebration of the Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. A related objective was to gather African Catholic newcomers to experience mutual support and renewal of their life and their African values and cultures, which they can then bring back to their dioceses and share in their various homes and ministries. Nigerian-born Sister Joanna Okereke, Coordinator of Ethnic Ministries at the USCCB office, said more than 500 persons from all over the United States were registered to participate. She said that African priests and religious now constitute a substantial portion of the US Church's ministry force. Sr Joanna that over 1,000 African nuns and 900 African priests were ministering in the country. "This is a momentous occasion in the life of the Church in the United States ≠ to bring Africans from all over the country to pray and break bread together towards solidifying spiritual unity firmly grounded in the love for our Lord who is constantly whispering to us to gather around the table and 'eat as one family'. The event program said:. "Come and be part of history." Auxiliary Bishop Joseph N. Perry of Chicago, Episcopal Liaison for African and Caribbean Communities, gave the keynote address, entitled "Eucharist: Source of Unity, Solidarity and Reconciliation." Most Reverend Augustine Shao, CSSP, Bishop of Zanzibar, Tanzania, was Chied Celebrant at the Eucharistic celebration on Saturday. This will be followed by a procession of nations, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and a cultural celebration featuring a banquet with an assortment of African foods. Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington was Chief Celebrant at the Mass in the Crypt Church of the Basilica yesterday. The weekend included many workshops as well as activities for children. The Seventh National Convention of the African Conference of Catholic Clergy and Religious in the United States (ACCCRUS) was held from August 31 to September 1, on the theme: 'Breaking Bread Together: The African Experience.' Source: CISA
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