|Staff of the Africa Faith Justice Network, along with others|
Pope Benedict XVI used these words to describe the great spiritual heritage of African peoples for themselves and all of the world. At the beginning of the twentieth century there were only two million Catholics in Africa. Today, the continent numbers 147 million, with an impressive number of vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and numerous conversions to Christianity. The first Synod on ‘The Church in Africa and her evangelizing mission’ and the second Synod of the continent on ‘The Church in Africa in service to reconciliation, justice and peace’ dealt in very serious manner and with great commitment with the fundamental questions that worry and torment the whole Church and the African peoples.
The Xaverian Missionaries are working in Africa since the early 1950’s, beginning in Sierra Leone, and moving on to Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burundi, Cameroon, Chad, and Mozambique. From the United States, along with our prayerful support of our work in Africa, we also take up the commitment lauded by the second African Synod for reconciliation, justice, and peace through an important organization called the AFRICA FAITH AND JUSTICE NETWORK. We are organizational members and one of our priests, Fr. Rocco Puopolo, served as Executive Director and now as board member.
The executive director of AFJN is Fr. Aniedi Okure, OP. The staff includes: Mr. Bahati Jacques, Fr. Barthelemy Bazemo M.Afr., and Mrs. Homan-Smith. The Board of Directors number 17 lay and religious missionaries from around the country. They invite interns to assist them throughout the year.
As Catholics, we are concerned about two fundamental ways in which we live in solidarity with the poor: through charity and justice. Charity attempts bring relief from great hardship, and justice gets at the reasons why that hardship exists and works to mitigate it terrible effects on others. In this way the Africa Faith and Justice Network (AFJN) is a community of advocates for responsible U.S. relations with Africa. AFJN stresses issues of peacebuilding, human rights and social justice that tie directly into Catholic social teaching. AFJN works closely with Catholic missionary congregations and numerous Africa-focused coalitions of all persuasions to advocate for U.S. economic and political policies that will benefit Africa’s poor majority, facilitate an end to armed conflict, establish equitable trade and investment with Africa and promote sustainable development. Download a brief history of AFJN here.