contributions to African People






The Catholic Church in Africa as a Family

The Catholic Church in Africa sees itself as the family of those who believe in God, through Jesus Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

As such, it is clearly part of the worldwide Catholic Church and at the same time offers a very particular Catholic presence to the people of that continent,

who have their own special history and a vast range of cultures. There has always been, and there still is, in the Church in Africa a dynamic interaction

between the Catholic faith and the realities lived by the local population.  The result is that the Church, both through its hierarchy and through its faithful,

has impacted almost every aspect of African society.


The Church in Africa as Purveyor of Health Care and Education

Right from early times, the Catholic missions have served not only as sites for worship, but also as centers for health care and education. 

Dispensaries, clinics and hospitals --- addressing the many different health care needs, be they HIV/AIDS, malaria, or childbirth---

are all very much a part of the Catholic scene in Africa. The same might be said of day care centers, primary and secondary schools and

even establishments of tertiary education. Moreover, today the Church is developing a whole network of Catholic universities.  The media

are another channel of education, through which the Church contributes to Africas development in our time by operating numerous community

radio stations, video production centers and even some local television channels.


The Church in Africa as a Voice for Justice and Peace  

Individual Catholics, as well as a variety of Catholic movements and organizations, have contributed greatly to building a vibrant civil society in many countries

around the continent. In some instances Church people and groups have been instrumental in assuring civic education (for example, helping to prepare for

elections in South Africa and the Democratic Republic of Congo among other places).

Similarly the Church at all levels has often stepped up to meet the challenges of conflict resolution and peace building in the situations of strife and violence,

which arise all too frequently on the continent of Africa (for example Mozambique, Burundi and Sudan, to mention only a few).

Among other efforts being made by the Church in Africa are initiatives taken to address the consequences of globalization.  It is evident to all that Africa’s

vast natural resources have not benefited the majority of its people.  Today African Catholics, both clergy and lay people, are actively calling for economic justice,

including corporate social responsibility, the promotion of the dignity of work and the respect of workers’ rights to fair wages and to a healthy work environment.


The church in Africa as a Place of Collaboration and Co-responsibility

What characterizes all of these efforts and actions by the Church is that they are usually taken in concert, that is, the clergy and the laity working together as witnesses of their

Catholic faith. In fact, developing and emphasizing the role of the laity is no doubt what has allowed the Church to play such an important part in the history and progress of the

peoples of Africa.  Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in the remarkable work done by catechists, lay men and women, who give of themselves to announce the Gospel

by religious instructions, by personal commitment and by dedicated community service.


                                    Prepared by Fr. Bill Dyer and George Kombe Ngolwe