African American and Caribbean Pastoral Meeting Held in Ecuador

Pope Stresses Importance of African American History

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By Junno Arocho

GUAYAQUIL, Ecuador, JULY 19, 2012 ( Benedict XVI is encouraging bishops to deepen reflection on the culture, traditions and history of African Americans so as to be better able to present the message of Jesus Christ.

This was the message given in a note sent on the Pope’s behalf by his secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the 12th African American and Caribbean Pastoral Meeting. The event was held in Guayaquil, Ecuador last week. Members from various Episcopal Conferences throughout the Americas were present at the annual meeting, as well as members of the African American and Caribbean Pastoral Secretariat (SEPAC).

The theme of the conference was “The African American and Caribbean Pastoral Ministry and the Aparecida Document: Challenges and Hopes in the Church.» 

In the papal message, participants were encouraged to deepen their reflection on the cultural and traditional values of African Americans. 

«The Pope encourages them to deepen their reflections on the cultural values, the history and the traditions of African Americans, so that the Church will be able to present Jesus Christ increasingly as the authentic answer to the most profound questions of the human being, allowing themselves to be led by the impulse of the Holy Spirit who has come to make all cultures fruitful, ‘purifying them and developing the numerous germs and seeds that the incarnate Word placed in them, thus guiding them on the paths of the Gospel,'» Cardinal Bertone wrote. 

The Holy Father invited bishops present to continuing caring for those populations that have been either marginalized or neglected by society. 

Before the conference began, participating bishops met with populations of African descent to review issues affecting them and meeting with representatives of SEPAC who asked for the continuing support of the bishops in their evangelization ministry. 

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