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Archbishop Boniface Lele of Mombasa: Africa in future could send missionaries to re-evangelize in Europe

NAIROBI, April 5, 2011 (CISA)
The Catholic Church in Africa could in future send missionaries to re-evangelize in Europe, Kenyan Archbishop Boniface Lele of the Archdiocese of Mombasa said on April 2. Archbishop Lele was addressing a two-day symposium on the future of mission in Africa from April 1 to 2 in Nairobi. The symposium was organized by the Society of Maryknoll, a Catholic organisation of priests and brothers in Kenya as part of their centenary celebrations to mark their work globally. Archbishop Lele added that Christianity was growing at a high rate in the southern hemisphere compared to the north. “Unlike in the past, the Christianity growth is no longer in the northern hemisphere. A new shift is being witnessed today,” stressed Archbishop Lele. He added that religious vocations were ‘dwindling’ in the northern hemisphere while they were fast increasing in the southern hemisphere, Africa included hence the possibility of Africa offering its missionaries to re-evangelise the northern hemisphere. In his remarks, Apostolic Nuncio to Kenya, Archbishop Alain Paul Lebeaupin paid tribute to the early missionaries for their gallant missionary work among the local people in Kenya and the rest of the African countries. “Unlike today, where we are living in the world of modern technology, Internet included, our early missionaries were moving from nowhere to new discoveries …nothing like internet to guide them on where they were going to… they wholly depended on their faith and belief,” he pointed out. Tanzanian catholic priest and scholar Laurent Magesa said inculturation was a new ‘thinking’ in the Catholic faith. Every effort should be made to have it fully incorporated in the Christian teaching of the Church, he advised. “There is need for the local church in Africa to ‘centralize’ this concept for the deeper meaning of the Christianity message among the local people,” he added. Fr Paul Masson, Assistant General of the Maryknoll society, from New York, USA and who attended the symposium, thanked the African people for allowing the society to work among them, when their first team arrived on the continent in 1946 “Our missionary world would have been impossible without the open heart of the African people. We praise the Lord, Jesus Christ for this,” he said.