22 May 2012

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Our day opened with a Eucharistic Celebration animated by the Delegation in which we are staying and thus it was enlivened by the rhythm and music of the African continent–an excel-lent way to begin our work. Today we concentrated on the needs of Africa.

The sisters of our various circumscriptions took turns telling the assembly about the emergen-cies and challenges of this continent based on the deeper reflections that had been previously carried out on the community level. Their input revealed a continent that is rich in cultures and natural resources, a fertile field for evangelization, a hope for the Church and the Congre-gation, but that is also marked by profound wounds and impoverished by foreign exploitation, poor governing, the struggle for power, tribalism, neo-colonialism, terrorism, the invasion of sects and the spread of Islam.

In this situation, the FSPs feel especially challenged by the weakening of faith among the people, the growing rate of illiteracy, the increasingly marginalized situation of women, a crisis of values, of the family and of the educational system which does not promote the integral growth of the person, by young people without reference points or with false reference points in life, by the ambiguous role of the media and by the urgent need to form opinion leaders.

The sisters then divided into four work groups and, following the directives of Fr. Sabino Ayestaran, exchanged ideas about the needs of Africa. With the help of the coordinator and the sisters acting as “evaluators,” the key ideas that emerged in the work groups were then organized by theme and ranked in order of priority. Afterward, four “diagrams” were drawn up to establish the relationships between the ideas that emerged in the groups.

The diagrams of the different groups were then presented in the plenary assembly, after which common points were reinforced and divergent points were discussed. This enabled the assem-bly to draw up a single diagram in which the continent’s key problem began to emerge.

Tomorrow the things the participants learned in today’s sessions will be clarified and con-firmed, and ideas will be compared between the assembly and guest speaker Bishop Maurice Muhatia Makumba of Nakuru, Kenya.

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