Our Bishop writes from Rome

As most of you are aware I am in Rome for the seminar that has been organised by the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples (CEP) for bishops from mission territories of Africa, Asia, Oceania and South America who have been appointed from 2008 to 2010.

Bishop Chama and Pope Benedict XVI

All together we are 101 bishops and we are at the Pontifical College of St Paul the Apostle. In fact among us there is one who has not yet been consecrated. That is why someone referred to our seminar as a ‘kindergarten’! Only it is so special for we have some bishops around 72 among us who do not qualify for the kindergarten.

On Saturday 11 September, Pope Benedict XVI had an audience with us at his summer residence Castel Gandolfo. When I had my few seconds with him which I spent on introducing myself and where I am coming from he said to me: “Greet your people for me”.  Thus to all who read the issue of Our Diocese or on the web, this time I send you greetings from the Holy Father. May you all pass it on to others that all of us can share this greetings and blessing. What was remarkable was that everyone who stood up to greet the Pope turned to the group with a broad smile from one end of the mouth to the other. So when you pass on this greeting make sure it is given with a smile.

On Sunday 12 we went to Assisi on pilgrimage. We had mass in the first Basilica which is just 3 meters above the tomb of St Francis of Assisi. Though the place has become so big and impressive, it speaks of the simplicity of a poor saint who gave away all he had in order to live a life of poverty for the restoration of the Church of Jesus Christ. I wonder whether with so much poverty in our midst we cannot restore our families and communities so that they become more caring, supportive and forgiving. For at Assisi the message is that in poverty we can achieve enduring fruits for the mission of the Church of Jesus Christ.

We will conclude our seminar with the Eucharistic celebration in St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday 18 September. So apart from the greeting from the Holy Father, I will also pray for you on this day for you are special to the Lord.