The terror of Boko Haram lives not only in Nigeria, but in the northern part of Cameroon, too. While organized armed attacks by Boko Haram have decreased in the face of a united military offensive by several African countries, there continue to be suicide bombings, murders and abductions in the affected areas. Many people are still living in fear. The Catholic Diocese of Maroua-Mokolo in the Far North Region of Cameroon must contend with this reality.
“You are the hope of this 2000-year-old Church of ours: being young in faith, you must be like the first Christians and radiate enthusiasm and courage…You will also be a leaven of missionary spirit for the older Churches.” Saint John Paul II
In Africa, the number of Catholics is growing faster than the Muslim population. The Catholic Church is also growing at a faster rate than other Christian denominations: since 1980 Africa’s Catholic population has more than tripled to 200 million. But, above all, the growth and enthusiasm of the faith in Africa is a beacon of hope for the continent and the world at large.
The Institute for Philosophy and Theology run by the Capuchin Fathers in Addis Abeba is the only Catholic higher educational institution in central and southern Ethiopia. All the dioceses and all the religious communities in this country of Eastern Africa send their seminarians for their studies there.
The Catholic Church Africa is something of a record holder – one in every nine priests, one in every four seminarians and one in every six lay Catholics in the world are coming from this continent! Many of the seminaries are bursting at the seams, and – in contrast to other parts of the world – the number of priests is actually growing year by year.
There are still a number of foreign missionaries living and working in Ghana today. One of them, Franciscan Father Martino Corazzin has been working there ever since 1991, and by now he has built many churches and schools and sponsored numerous social and pastoral projects over the years.
Sheraton-Heliopolis is the name of a newer suburb of Cairo, one that did not even exist a few decades ago. The Catholic Church has established a pastoral center here, named the Diakonia Development Center, to serve the various pastoral and social needs of the Catholic parish community.