This is an opportunity to share your faith.
THEME : “African Eucharistic Congress, A Response to the Lord's Prayer, "That They May All Be One".
Date : July 21-23, 2023
Venue : Catholic University of America Washington, DC
Closing Mass Saturday, July 22, 2023 @ 4:30PM.
Venue : Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington DC.
The Fourth African National Eucharistic Congress (ANEC) is an initiative of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ office on Pastoral Care of Migrants, Refugees, and Travelers aimed at encouraging a deeper faith in the Blessed Sacrament and a fresh realization of its centrality in the Christian life and mission of the Catholic Church. This is an opportunity for African Catholics to gather together to experience mutual support, renewal of their lives, sharing of their values and cultures, to draw attention to the social dimension of the Eucharist, and use the central place of the Eucharist to effect transformation in their lives, societies and nations.
The number of Catholics coming from Africa in the last 10 years has increased significantly. Their desire to live their faith in communion and collaboration with all the Catholics in the United States is a great sign of the genuineness of their catholic faith. Moreover, they want to develop the values that come from their Catholic and African cultures and instill same into their children and families.
The Fourth African National Eucharistic Congress is expecting approximately 2000 participants, many of whom are priests, religious, lay Catholics and other leaders. This is an effective opportunity to engage dioceses, parishes, religious congregations, associations, and lay Catholic leaders. It is a powerful platform for addressing critical and current social and pastoral needs of African Catholics such as immigration, cultural unity in diversity, solidarity, stewardship, evangelization, and proclaiming the gospel in the spiritual peripheries. We encourage you to join us to be part of this historic moment in the life of the Church.
Theme of the 4th African Eucharistic Congress:
The Congress Theme, A response to the Lord's Prayer, "That They may All Be One", has its roots in Jesus’ pray for us to His Heavenly Father that believers would be united. We stand unified together at the foot of the cross. The challenge for the 2021 congress is finding ways to deepen the unity for which Jesus prayed (John 17.21). In this way the Congress aims to:
- Promote an awareness of the central place of the Eucharistic in the life and mission of the Catholic Church
- Improve our understanding and celebration of the liturgy as well as renewal of our personal relationship to Jesus Christ, in private prayer and devotion;
- Reflect on the significance of the Eucharistic in the Journey of faith;
- Draw attention to the need to recognize Christ in one another, including, testimonies, workshops, other liturgical and cultural events.
May the prayer of Jesus led us to be one in mind and heart. May Jesus’ prayer for unity help us to find that oneness He says we must have. We encourage you to join us to be part of this historic moment in the life of the Church.
The purpose of the African National Eucharistic Congress (ANEC) is to gather African Catholics in the United States to establish a national pastoral response to the growing and significantly underserved African Catholic population and to strengthen their response to the call to be missionary disciples.
WHY THE AUDIENCE AT THE AFRICAN NATIONAL EUCHARISTIC CONGRESS IS IMPORTANT :
The Church in the United States is experiencing profound demographic shifts. For this reason, fulfilling the mission of the Church has much to do with finding effective ways to proclaim the gospel and offer its pastoral care in the context of an adequate cultural setting for such a diverse people. Although the Church has already taken key steps to make African Catholics feel welcomed, there is still much work to do for us to be truly effective at instilling in African Catholics a sense of belonging.
According to the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA), the African Catholic population has grown by 238 percent since 1980. Their desire to live their faith in communion and collaboration with all the Catholics in the United States is a great sign of the genuineness of their catholic faith. CARA has also found that only 2.8% of Catholic Worship Sites report serving African Catholics. Thus, there is a significant pastoral gap that needs to be met. Moreover, because of the cultural differences and ministry limitations they face, they fall through the cracks of regular diocesan and parish ministry. They are struggling to keep and develop their Catholic faith and culture.
ANEC is the only national initiative of the Catholic Church in the United States that responds to the growing pastoral needs of African Catholics. ANEC is expected to impact more than 2000 African Catholics directly and many more indirectly.
KEYNOTE SESSION :
African Eucharistic Congress, A response to the Lord's Prayer, "That They may All Be One"
PLENARY SESSION :
The Journey of Faith: African Catholics Encountering Christ in the Eucharist African Catholics in the US: Truly Catholic, Authentically African
WORKSHOP SESSION :
- Twenty Years of Call for Solidarity with Africa: The US Bishops responding to the call of the Church in Africa.
- Open Wide Our Hearts: The Enduring Call to Love - A Pastoral Letter Against Racism
- Creating Culture of Encounter: A guide for Joyful Missionary Disciple. How the Church in the United States can better respond to African Catholics who live on the peripheries in the spirit of New Evangelization.
- Cultural Diversity in the Church: The US Bishops goals of bringing all the culturally and racially diverse communities into a fuller participation in the faith, life, and evangelizing mission of the Church.
- Advancing outreach to African Catholics in the United States on Leadership recruitment and development at the parish/diocesan level.
- An Episcopal Encounter with Young Adults
“Each Christian and every community must discern the path that the Lord points out, but all of us are asked to obey his call to go forth from our own comfort zone in order to reach all the “peripheries” in need of the light of the Gospel (Evangelii Gaudium 20).