Intervention of Kpakile Felemou of the Community of Sant'Egidio in Guinea Conakry to the Synod for Africa
In the Gospel of Matthew, chapter 25, the Lord recognizes himself in the poor. In John he tells his disciples "Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit for without me you can do nothing." Here are the two dimensions of the Community of Sant'Egidio: to remain in Christ and to love the poor. In about thirty African countries, our communities live praying togtehr and serving the poor: they rescue prisoners, orphans or street children, foreigners, people who are sick, AIDS patients, refugees. There is also the service to peace, well known after the peace accords signed in 1992 in Mozambique, through the mediation of the Community and the Italian government.
Our experience makes us understand how many are the questions addressed to the Church in Africa, but it also makes us aware of how the Spirit blows. It 'nice to see the lay Africans engaged in prayer and for the poor. We Africans have Sant'Egidio pride of saying you're never too poor to be able to help the poor. Thus we free ourselves from victimization and resignation that are so common across our continent.
The movements are often a bridge between Africa and the world, gene rating a laity capable of breaking distances. We feel the love of the universal Church that, with this Synod, puts Africa at the centre of its concerns.
I would humbly say, as an African, Europe is still full of faith, of generous hearts! I can testify it! Europe has received the gift of technology while Africa has a thirst for learning. Its people are receptive. In the name of security the entry of immigrants into Europe has become difficult, dramatic. Evil is intelligent and insinuates itself into divisions. The more the better part of the West and Africa distrust each other, the more evil grows. Instead, the challenge of charity unites and we can be bridges. The movement of lay people are living what the bishops of Africa and Europe want to do together: a common destiny Euro-African! It 'the first step to a world of solidarity.
We urge African youth to go against the current, opposing the dictatorship of materialism, stronger on the poor than in the rich North. I can testify that young people often feel lost, they want a dignified life. They look for a better future and try to love their country. To serve the poor, for them, is also a liberation from the dictatorship of practical materialism that hangs over their lives.
In the Church, the movements are an opportunity to meet our troubled youth by providing them the dignity of the Gospel. With this dignity, we can also meet with Muslims, on the ground of practical experience. The movements are an effective response to sects: they are a Christianity with a warm and friendly atmosphere with an attractive missionary aim.
The Community of Sant'Egidio knows how the lives of many depends on peace. I come from a country in serious difficulty, Guinea Conakry. The war is truly the mother of all poverty! I propose that the Synod may consider and clearly indicate the gift of God that is peace, as a necessary public good. The Church always fights the battle for a preventive. With prayer, with love for the poor by preventing hatred and violence, Let us then keep watch as a mother to our beautiful Africa!