Ghana to host 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM

BY: Abigail Sedinam Kortiah
 Most Rev. Gabriel Kumordji, acting Treasurer of SECAM and Bishop of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese of the Catholic Church, addressing the news conference yesterday. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo
Most Rev. Gabriel Kumordji, acting Treasurer of SECAM and Bishop of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese of the Catholic Church, addressing the news conference yesterday. Picture: Maxwell Ocloo

The Catholic Church in Ghana will host the 19th Plenary Assembly of the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar (SECAM) this month.

The symposium, which will take place at the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA), Accra, is scheduled for July 25 to August 1.

The event was originally scheduled to be held in Burkina Faso, but following the political unrest in that country, Ghana was chosen to host it.

The Ghana Catholic Bishops' Conference is the official host of the symposium dubbed: "Ownership of SECAM: Security and Migration in Africa and its Islands".

At a news briefing in Accra yesterday, the acting Treasurer of SECAM, Most Rev. Bishop Gabriel Kumordji, said the assembly would bring together 130 participants from Africa, with representatives from the Vatican, Europe and the Americas.

"This assembly was initially scheduled to take place in Burkina Faso, but due to the political instability in that country and the non-recognition of the military regime by both the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS, the Bishops of Africa found it not expedient to hold their assembly in that country,” he said.

“This decision was taken only a few months ago during an emergency Standing Committee meeting of SECAM in Accra," Bishop Kumordji, who is also the Bishop of the Keta-Akatsi Diocese, added.

Accra, which is the headquarters of SECAM which has eight regional conferences (regions), hosted the 15th Plenary Assembly in 2010 to mark the 40th anniversary of the episcopal body.


The 19th Plenary Assembly marks SECAM’s 52nd anniversary of its formation.

SECAM was established to, among other things, accomplish together in Africa Christ’s mandate to proclaim the message of redemption to all nations, foster, promote and preserve solidarity, communion and collaboration among bishops of the continent, and to also build the church in Africa as the family of God.

The bishops of Africa have set aside a day known as SECAM Day that is annually observed on July 29 at the diocesan, regional and continental levels in Africa.

SECAM executes its pastoral engagements through two commissions, namely Evangelism and Justice, and Peace and Development.

Programme line-up

Bishop Kumordji said the assembly would be opened at the Christ the King Parish Hall on July 26, with President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo expected to be the guest of honour.

The closing ceremony of the assembly will be preceded by a Holy Mass at the Holy Spirit Cathedral, Adabraka, on Sunday, July 30.

Bishop Kumordji added that a communique would be presented by the new President of SECAM who would have been elected a day before the closing day.

“All other programmes of the assembly will be held at GIMPA, Achimota. Even though the participation is limited to official delegates, arrangements could be made for media interactions or interviews with the Cardinals and Bishops,” he said.

There are currently over 600 Catholic bishops in Africa of which 28 are Cardinals, among whom are two Ghanaians.

Bishops of Africa have been speaking out and working against the growing imbalances between the North and the South of the world in terms of the distribution of resources.

In a recent message known as the Kampala Document, the bishops brought attention to the damage being done to creation, the environment, and the political and economic crises in which the world found itself, with millions of people living in sub-human conditions.

“It is because of these and other issues militating against the development of Africa that the plenary assembly to be held at the end of the month of July in Ghana will be focusing more on security and migration in its deliberations,” Most Rev. Kumordji stated.