The Panafrican Congress of Catholic Laity opens today


Being witnesses of Jesus Christ in Africa today

“Salt of the earth...light of the World (Mt. 5:13-14)

4 – 9 September 2012

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Press release

The Pan–African Congress of Catholic Laity organised by the Pontifical Council for the Laity begins on 4th September 2012. The September 4th to 9th, 2012 gathering will be held under the theme: “Being Witnesses of Jesus Christ in Africa Today: Salt of the earth ...light of the world (Mt. 5:13-14)”.This continental Congress will be held at the Catholic University of Central Africa in Yaoundé.

The congress, which opens with a keynote address by Cardinal Stanslaw Rylko, President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, brings together the laity with their bishops from different geographical and cultural areas in Africa to reflect on various challenges and share their experiences of being witnesses of Jesus Christ. Several lectures, open and panel discussions programmed during the congress will inspire the reflections and sharing of experiences of the delegates.

In the wake of the apostolic exhortations Ecclesia in Africa of Blessed John Paul II and Africae Munus of Benedict XVI, this Congress intends to be an event of hope in the evangelising mission and to help rediscover the beauty of being Christians in the African continent, in the midst of several challenges the lay faithful face in the witness of Christ in the various fields of society.

Among the important topics to be covered by the relators during the congress are: African lay faithful: salt of the earth and light of a new world according to the Apostolic Exhortation Africae Munus by Cardinal Peter K. A. Turkson, Africa today: social, geopolitical, economic and cultural dimensions by Professor Marie Thérése Megue, Jesus Christ on African soil: priorities, problems and challenges for the Church in Africa by Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou. Other important lectures will discuss the vocation and mission of lay faithful addressed by Bishop Josef Clemens, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for the Laity, and the education and training of the lay faithful in Africa that will be discussed by Cardinal Robert Sarah, President of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum. These and other topics are intended to promote active membership of the laity in local and universal Church, and to strengthen their relationship with the local pastors and the Successor of St. Peter.

The congress, organised in collaboration with the National Episcopal Conference of Cameroon, expects more than 300 delegates drawn from Episcopal Conferences, Lay Associations, Ecclesial Movements and New Communities. 

After the two general assemblies of the Synod of Bishops on Africa, the Congress intends to strengthen the identity of the Catholic laity of the continent and to help them live their co-responsibility in the mission of building up the Church in various fields of apostolate such as Christian education and formation; pastoral care of the family; the role of women and youths in building up the Christian community and society in Africa; the participation of the Catholic lay faithful in the work place and in politics. Thus, in this way giving witness to their Christian faith.


Contact details:

The Pontifical Council for the Laity
Congress Venue Contacts:
Universitè Catholique de L’Africa Centrale (UCAC)
Campus de Nkolbisson - Yaounde

Media Contact Persons:

Fr. Moses Hamungole - Tel. 00237 79438093
Dr. Vittorio Scelzo – Tel. 00237 714992208
Abbé George Mballaowono – Tel. 00237 94636795

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On 1 September 2016 the

Pontifical Council for the Laity
ceased its activities.
Its responsibilities and duties
have been taken over by the
Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life.